Well, it’s taken a few days for the magical result to sink in, but having thought about it, I need to do due diligence here and cannot simply give every single Sharks player 15 out of 10, as I’d intended to. Herewith the belated (and inflated) player ratings for the Currie Cup Final.
1) Beast. A huge performance on defence and solid in the scrums, as always. Beast killed the overrated Harris and still had time to run around with his usual gusto all game long. 8/10
2) Bizness. Apart from conceding the odd penalty, as is his wont, Bizzie was superb. He dominated in the tackle and was the Sharks’ most effective fetcher, stealing ball seeminly at will. Lineouts were a bit messy, but we love him, so he gets 9/10.
3) Janneman. The big doctor was a pillar of strength in everything he did and his lucky streak in Currie Cup finals is nowhere near its end. Maintained his discipline throughout, scrummed well and put in some big tackles too. 8/10
4) Steve. What a man, what a man. Sykesie is a legend, pure and simple. On a day when the Province second row disappeared, Big Steve stood tall and threw his body around the field with no regard for personal safety all game long. Somebody buy that man a beer! 8/10
5) Big Al. The Most Improved Forward for the Sharks this season delivered another big performance when it counted. Showed great hands when required to play the linking role and added hugely to the physical stakes as well. 8/10
6) Keegster. The stats will show that he missed a few tackles, which unfortunately have to cost him a point or two. Keegan’s own standard this season is so ridiculously high – and that’s what we ultimately must judge him against. He was, however, still a constant thorn in Western Province’s side as part of a loose-trio that comprehensively outplayed their big-name opponents. 7.5/10
7) Big Vic. A little bit subdued in the first half, but burst to life as the game progressed, delivering his trademark big hits and power drives that always made yards when they counted most. Just slightly behind Bizzie as the Sharks most influential forward on the day. 8.5/10
8) Hoff. The Kankster proved a constant threat with ball in hand and also got stuck in manfully on defence, as well as in the tight loose. A player who is rapidly forging a reputation for himself as a hard nut, when previously all had thought he was only one for the flashy stuff. 8/10
9) Charlie. An untimely ankle injury put paid to what would have been one of the most complete displays of scrumhalf play we’ve seen all season. Based on the half we saw, McLeod was on top, top form. Varied his play superbly and was a constant threat to Province. 9/10
10) SuperPat. Missed one easy kick (and two ridiculously hard ones), as well as a tackle or two. That is the only reason he doesn’t get 10, because everything else he did was, well, perfect. 9.5/10
11) Mvoves. Upped his workrate substantially, as we’ve been asking him to do all season. Two moments defined his contribution – the slick pop to send McLeod in for the first try, and the monster tackle on baby Aplon to prevent a certain try in the corner. Lwazi, you’re a bloody GEM. 8/10
12) Dries. Just thinking about this performance makes me want to cry. Dries was the driving force behind the win and the one man who virtually single-handedly tackled the Province backline out of the game. We will miss you so, so much, Annas! 9/10
13) Stef. Steffie missed touch from a few penalties and also conceded a soft one early in the game. Otherwise, he was outstanding as a leader and deserves an extra 5 points simply for that speech at the end. What a legend. 7.5/10
14) Oddy. On a day when attacking opportunities were few and far between, Odwa played his usual high-intensity game and inspired those around him with his workrate, on defence, on attack and in support of the ball-carrier. 7.5/10
15) Louis. Louis’s only problem seems to be that the rest of the team does so well on defence that he seldom has to make any tackles. He saves them up, though, and the bone-crunching hit he put in on Schalk Burger was the tackle of the day, if not the whole season. He is completely fearless, both on attacka and defence and I cannot think of a more dependable number 15 in the domestic game right now. 8/10
16) Bruce Burds. He gets 8 simply for being an awesome team man. Wasn’t used on the day, but we wouldn’t have been in the final at all were it not for him.
17) Gena. Kept turning the screws at scrumtime, but conceded a penalty or two. Still weighed in with a great contribution. What a great bloke to have in the team! 7/10
18) Bakkies Junior. Anton only came on for a minute, but I watched him closely and he managed to hit about 3 different rucks and fly into as many Province players as he could in that time, such was his energy an enthusiasm. This is not meant to be an unbiased piece, so I’m giving him an 8 based on that minute of play!
19) Bootsie. Injected pace and enthusiasm when he came on and literally flew into tackles, using his pace to press up on defence and literally destroy any hope of a late Province revival. An AMAZING performance from a player who just gets better every year. Deon Stegmann isn’t good enough to polish this guy’s boots. 9/10
20) Rocket. Turned in his best half of rugby all Currie Cup long. Recovered from an early mistake (an overcooked kick) and kept up the good work started by McLeod as he alternated providing Lambie with good ball and making his trademark snipes around the fringes. Stick with us, Rory. 8/10
21) Petoors. Didn’t get on, but gets an 8 for making it this far without getting injured. So good that such a legend of a player could finally get a Currie Cup wineers’ medal.
22) Swannie. Was again HUGE on defence and brought a similar level of aggression and fire to the game as Strauss did. Showed some nerves on attack, grassing a pretty standard pass, though. Gets extra points for protecting his mate Ludik from the irate-hobbit-attack of Gio Aplon late in the game. 7/10
Plummo, Bashie, Reece and the rest of the coaching staff… 10/10 for the final and 100/10 for the season and the campaign. We take our hats off to you gents! Thanks for bringing our cup back home.Tweet