Can’t we just give the whole team 11/10 this week for sending the wining Cheetahs back to their village with their tails firmly between their legs? We can’t? Oh, ok then. Individual ratings it will be.
1) Pat Cilliers. What a dominant display against a supposedly strong opposition tight head. Pat put in his best destructive scrummaging display EVER in a Sharks jersey and still had the legs to get about the field a fair bit. 8/10
2) Craig Burden. The former three-quarter loves to tell us that he prefers to be measured on his set-piece work, rather than on running about with the ball. In that case, Burds was superb. Part of a dominant Sharks scrum and virtually flawless in the lineout. Not that he didn’t put in one or two strong runs as well. 8/10
3) Eugene van Staden. A massive performance fro a guy who has turned out to be a very astute off-season signing indeed. With Julian Redelinghuys out for the Super 15, van Staden is going to be hugely valuable in 2011. Great on the run this week, where he so nearly scored what would have been a memorable try. 9/10
4) Steven Sykes. His usual bustling self, Sykes was all over the park, hitting rucks and making tackles when it mattered most. 7/10
5) Alistair Hargreaves. Another big showing. The pink scrum cap was everywhere and Hargreaves got through a massive amount of work, both on defence and offence, where he was often on-hand with a clever pop to keep things moving. 8/10
6) Keegan Daniel. This guy is just so important to the Sharks’ game plan this season, adding huge pace and skill wherever he goes. Keegan never takes a step back and motivates and inspires those around him with his heroics. Keep it up, Keego! 9/10
7) Willem Alberts. Vic’s only real challenge now is finding ways to improve on his own incredibly-high standard. He has been, quite simply, breathtaking ever since returning from injury and must surely be THE premier ball-carrying flanker in the Currie Cup. My only major concern at this stage is that he’s possibly being overworked and might need a break after the Lions game. 9/10
8) Ryan Kankowski. Hoff was back at his destructive best, setting up two of the Sharks’ tries as only he could. He put in huge work in the tight phases too and was a tyro on defence as well. 9/10
9) Charl McLeod. Charl was far, far better than he was against the Pumas and despite an error or two, did all that was required of him and more. The tap penalty that lead to his try, while initially appearing to be a poor decision, turned out to be a master-stroke and you have to back him for having the balls to try that – and the pace to pull it off. 8/10
10) Pat Lambie. Varied his play nicely this week and looked calm and assured in all that he did. Place-kicking was better, although he did miss two, admittedly tricky, conversion attempts. A much better all-round showing. 8/10
11) Lwazi Mvovo. Said it before, said it again. If this lad wants to become the top-class winger we all know he can be, he needs to up his work-rate and find ways to get involved other than on his own wing. 6/10
12) Andries Strauss. Solid on defence as we’ve come to expect, but unfortunately added very little as an attacking threat in midfield. 6/10
13) Stefan Terblanche. Played a real captain’s innings and got involved in everything. Often called on to save the situation with his cool head and steady hands. Well played, Oom Stef! 8/10
14) Odwa Ndungane. Fluffed a regulation regather after Lambie put a superb stab that should have been 5 points. Other than that, Oddie was very good and played his part as a senior member of the team. Scored a great try and his work rate in all facets of the game was exemplary as always. 7/10
15) Louis Ludik. Coming back into form and was dangerous throughout. Not quite as blisteringly fast as he was before the knee injury, but showed great positional sense and an attacking instinct that can’t be coached. 8/10
16) Kyle Cooper. Only got a minute at the end, but I spotted his blonde mop competing furiously as always!
17) Wiehahn Herbst. Played a solid 15 minutes, but it would be wrong to admit that the scrum looked steadier and stronger with van Staden there. Herbst is developing nicely, though and did little wrong. 7/10
18) Mike Rhodes. Came on for a minute. That’s now less than 10 minutes total game time in three outings. What’s the point?
19) Jacques Botes. Put in some lovely work all over the park with his great positional awareness and sure hands proving key. 7/10
20) Rory Kockott. Only played for three minutes, so not fair to really rate him. What a try though!
21) Andre Pretorius. Also not on for long enough to be rated.
22) Riaan Swanepoel. Not on long enough for a rating.
Lionel Mapoe: Got the Cheetahs worked up into such a froth, they forgot to win the game. 10/10
Meyer Bosman: Dropped the ball so often, you’d swear he was already taking a salary from the Sharks! 10/10
Supporters at the Stadium: For coming out in pink and showing their support for CANSA 100/10
The above is, of course, not counting the typical poephol cheetahs fans who thought wearing their yucky orange was more important than pink on the day. Boo to you!