It’s safe to say opinion is divided when it comes to the Sharks’ 33-20 victory over the Pumas this weekend. Some fans are quite happy to have picked up the five points despite never really playing well, while others are furious that the Sharks didn’t prevail by 80 points, like the Cheetahs managed to a few weeks back. Herewith, our completely subjective ratings of the individuals concerned, with justifications. We don’t expect you to agree with them!
1) Dale Chadwick. A prop’s primary job is to scrum and in this aspect, Chadwick was fantastic. He destroyed all comers on the tighthead side of the Pumas scrum and was instrumental in setting a great platform for his side. His work in open play was often erratic, though, with the intercepted pass that lead to the Pumas’ second try a case in point. 7/10
2) Craig Burden. Not Craig’s best all-round showing, although the individual skills he displayed in scoring his try were superb. Lineouts were a little messy and he needed to work a bit harder in the tight. 6/10
3) Wiehahn Herbst. A pretty solid game for Worsie, marked by some big hits, a few nice ball carries and strong work on the tight head side of a scrum that never looked like going backward while he was on. 6/10
4) Alistair Hargreaves. Played out of position at tight lock, Ali seemed to struggle in the physical stakes against the tough Pumas tight forwards. That said, he got involved in handling the ball on a number of occasions and showed some good skills in doing so. Not really what you want from your number 4, though. 5/10
5) Ross Skeate. Only lasted 11 minutes, poor duck, before going off with a broken nose. Let’s hope he’s back soon.
6) Jean Deysel. While Deysel looks far more comfortable at 6 than at 8, one feels that he lacks a little of the subtlety and variation to his game required to truly excel on the open side of the scrum. The try he scored, though, was vintage Deysel and a thing of beauty to watch. 7/10
7) Marcell Coetzee. The youngster continues to struggle after a bright start to his Currie Cup career. Another anonymous game marked by some good tackling, but very little else. 4/10
8) Keegan Daniel. Back in his best position, the captain was close to his best again and got involved in just about everything. Lots of tackles and lots of good linking work. 7/10
9) Conrad Hoffmann. A very good game from Hoffmann. Great distribution and showed plenty of attacking instinct and good variation in his play. Has a good boot as well. 7/10
10) Fred Michalak. The beast was back, after seeing the beauty at Loftus. Fred was pretty sloppy in just about everything he did. The good news is that we know he is capable of so much better, which he will doubtless show against the Cheetahs next week. 4/10
11) Lwazi Mvovo. An appalling game, typified by low work rate and errors in virtually everything he did. Some good work on defence, when brought into the system, but little else to write home about. 3/10
12) Meyer Bosman. A nice performance, with lots of linebreaks and good work on defence. He wasn’t helped by the erratic service from his flyhalf, but Meyer can hold his head high after this game. 7/10
13) Stefan Terblanche. Stef was Stef. A fullback playing at outside center, as always. He made his tackles and put in a few runs, but deadly on attack he is not. 6/10
14) Sbura Sithole. Showed a little impatience on attack and made a few errors, in an otherwise solid performance. 5/10
15) Louis Ludik. Looked dangerous, without being deadly… Ludik is putting in a string of very dependable performances and always threatening to really do something special without ever quite getting there. 6/10
16) Kyle Cooper. Good to see Coops get more than the customary 5 minutes this week… He made a pretty good fist of his 15 minutes and mixed it up nicely in the tight, with a few strong carries. 6/10
17) Eugene van Staden. Made a decent impact in the tight-loose when he came on, but wasn’t quite as strong in the scrum as Herbst had been at tight head. 6/10
18) Anton Bresler. Ended up playing nearly the whole game and put in a very good performance, including the scoring of a lovely winger’s try! 7/10
19) Jacques Botes. Proved again that he is a far better ball-carrier than he is a ground player and excelled in the blindside role in tandem with the heavier Deysel. Scored two great tries to show he still has a role to play for the Sharks. 8/10
20) Ross Cronje. The spark that ignited the Sharks’ revival late in the second half, simple as that. Cronje was brilliant. 9/10
21) Jacques-Louis Potgieter. Only got 5 minutes at the end, which was silly, because Michalak was clearly out of sorts.
22) Adi Jacobs. Very busy when he came on, but ultimately didn’t accomplish all that much in a backline that failed to fire all day. 6/10