Here is a look at the individual player ratings for the loss against Western Province on Saturday night. It is rather difficult to rate a team overall after 8 changes were made and some of them being returning Springboks who haven’t played a stitch of rugby in more than a month.
Let’s look at how the individuals did.
1) Tendai Mtawarira. The first of the returning Boks, looked a bit rusty and did not have as many runs with ball in hand as we have become use to seeing. Solid in the scrums though. 6/10.
2) Bismarck du Plessis. Bissie has the tendency to take a while to become match fit, and the break was clearly evident in his play. He was off the pace, did not have any of his notable runs that he so enjoys, and cost the Sharks a few points with his penalty count. 5/10.
3) Jannie du Plessis. Was there and there abouts this week, scrumming well. We all expected the Sharks to dominate the scrums, and this did not happen. 6/10.
4) Gerhard Mostert. Had a much better game in his second run out. Our lineouts were disappointing though, and as much as Bismarck can be blamed for his wayward throwing, the locks didn’t exactly shine. Played the full 80 minutes, which was good to see. 6/10.
5) Alistair Hargreaves. Did not see much of big Al, and I hope that means he was busy in the rucking department. He can also shoulder some of the blame for the poor lineout performance. 5/10.
6) Jacques Botes. Botes had a busy game and tried running a lot of the ball. He was missing in the second half but I suspect we will see he was busy in the rucks. Defensively he was very good. 6/10.
7) Michael Rhodes. Got a full 80 minutes this week, and he was very impressive in his work rate and defensively. He is not in the same mould as Willem Alberts, who was sorely missed this weekend, but an impressive player nonetheless. 7/10.
8) Ryan Kankowski. Returning back from his enforced lay off, Ryan has not quite hit the form we know he is capable of. He did score a very opportunistic try, but was not at his best by knocking on a few important balls. 6/10
9) Rory Kockott. This was surely not Rory’s best performance, and he went a long way in confirming that Charl McLeod is the form scrumhalf at the moment. His passing was poor and wayward, and lacked the kicking game brought by Ricky Januarie. 5/10.
10) Andre Pretorius. Andre showed that he is not quite up to the same standard as the other flyhalves in the competition, with a game filled with missed tackles and poor decision making. His trusty boot was not used as Lambie was entrusted with the kicking duties. 5/10.
11) Lwazi Mvovo. Yet another quiet game for the winger, in a game where the ball did not get out wide, and the type of game Lwazi plays by waiting for the ball prevented any action. He did try his all when collecting kicks but had a poor game in comparison to Jean de Villiers, his opposite number. 6/10.
12) Andries Strauss. Andries put in a few amazing hits and was pretty decent on defence. He does lack the potency on attack to scare any line-up in front of him. He did not do much wrong. 7/10.
13) Stefan Terblanche. Captain courageous did not have a great game, not seeing much of the ball firstly, and being rather poor on defence. The WP centre pairing got past him a few times. He lacks pace and it showed. 5/10.
14) Odwa Ndungane. A quiet game for Odwa, again the ball did not exactly make its way to the wings that often. Was showed up for pace on numerous occasions, but got involved and was trying to get his hands on the ball. 6/10.
15) Pat Lambie. For his first game back at fullback in the competition, he did okay. He was decent under the high ball and was not scared to go for it in the air. He is just not in the same league as Ludik when it comes to the 15 jersey. 6/10.
16) Craig Burden. Was lively in the 15 minutes he played, as he always does. Not quite on the field long enough for a rating.
17) Eugene van Staden. Came onto the field twice, firstly for Mtawarira and secondly for du Plessis and had to cover both sides of the scrum. He was solid and the scrum looked the same with him there compared to the Springboks. 6/10.
18) Steven Sykes. Replaced big Al with 30 minutes to play, and looked good. He got involved in the rucking and was solid in the lineouts. 6/10.
19) Keegan Daniel. Was not used, thankfully.
20) Charl McLeod. Replaced Kockott with 30 minutes still to play, and there was a clear difference in the amount and quality of the ball the backline got. 7/10.
21) Adi Jacobs. Got a full 30 minutes and was rather impressive. He was always looking for work and showed some good pace and attacking flair that was missing from the centres. He scored a try to top off a good day at the office. 7/10.
22) Louis Ludik. Came on to replace Pretorius so that Lambie could go to ten, was solid and showed up in the right spot to score that last minute try. 7/10.