The Sharks battled their way to a frustrating 28-16 win over the Higlanders on Saturday, with Pat Lambie scoring all the points in an otherwise ordinary display. That said, any win at all is better than even the prettiest loss, so our ratings will reflect that to some extent.
1) Beast Mtawarira. A destructive scrummaging display reminiscent of the Beast at his best. Loose play will improve with match fitness, but it’s good to see him back. 7/10
2) Bismarck du Plessis. A barn-storming showing that saw him stand tall as the pick of the forwards on the day. Was a colossus at the breakdown, with at least 3 successful turnovers. Set piece work was pretty good on the day too. 8/10
3) Jannie du Plessis. Scrummed well, but was quiet otherwise. 5/10
4) Steven Sykes. An error-strewn display from the big man, marked by poor defence and woeful discipline. 4/10
5) Anton Bresler. Great lineout work and some huge efforts on defence. Work rate stood out. 7/10
6) Jacques Botes. Conceded a yellow card, which cost his team momentum. Botes was busy, yet lacked the effectiveness he showed against the Chiefs. 5/10
7) Marcell Coetzee. Great presence and work rate, particularly on defence. Could focus more on continuity when he has the ball in hand. 7/10
8) Keegan Daniel. Set up Lambie’s try with a great kick in a pretty useful all-round display. 7/10
9) Charl McLeod. Responsible for some pretty ordinary service which hampered the back-line all game long. 5/10
10) Pat Lambie. Sealed the win with superb goal-kicking; that said, his in-game decision-making was questionable at times with far too much decent ball kicked away. 7/10
11) Lwazi Mvovo. Had no opportunity to do anything much with ball in hand and was caught napping on defence a few times. 5/10
12) Tim Whitehead. The half backs conspired to kick away most of the ball they managed to wrestle back from the forwards, meaning little to do for the centres other than defend. Whitehead did this effectively. 6/10
13) Paul Jordaan. Having this kid on the field, but never giving him the ball, is like having a Ferrari in a garage that has no door. He looked a little lost defensively at first, but improved as the game progressed. Few other opportunities to show what he can do, though. 5/10
14) JP Pietersen. Same argument applies as to the rest of the three quarters. No ball, no chances. Defended pretty well. 6/10
15) Louis Ludik. The pick of the backs, he put in a controlled and measured display at fullback that was the antithesis of what we’ve seen from Riaan Viljoen in recent weeks. Lacks a little clip on the counter, but makes no mistakes in any of his primary areas of responsibility. 8/10
16) Craig Burden. Unused. There’s a surprise
17) Wiehahn Herbst. Only just scraped 10 minutes on the field, in two periods. Never really got into his game, but looked ok at what he did do. 6/10
18) Pieter-Steph du Toit. Not on long enough to be rated.
19) Jean Deysel. Not on long enough to be rated.
20) Ryan Kankowski. Not on long enough to be rated.
21) Fred Michalak. Unused.
22) Meyer Bosman. Unused.