The Sharks did it again on Saturday, with a lacklustre first half display giving way to some breathtaking moments in the second which led to a bonus-point win over the Cheetahs. Let’s see how the boys did.
1) Dale Chadwick. On a bit of a hiding to nothing, as he was summoned straight into the starting lineup at the eleventh hour after playing only club rugby for the last few months. Not his best game, but the rust is understandable. 5/10
2) Craig Burden. Alas, also showed how debilitating it can be to sit on the bench week after week as he lacked a bit of intensity and (dare I say?) match fitness. Bismarck added a whole new dimension when he came on. 5/10
3) Jannie du Plessis. A reasonable game at tight head, but was part of a Sharks scrum that creaked in the first half and damn near collapsed in the second, while he was played out of position at loose head. Not his fault, but wasn’t great. 6/10
4) Anton Bresler. A pretty good game under the circumstances and was one of the few to look decent in the first half. Took some good lineout ball at 2 and was active and effective on defence, as always. 7/10
5) Pieter-Steph du Toit. Played like a man who had been rushed back from injury. Shouldn’t have been there and committed a fair few basic errors before being yanked off injured after just half an hour. We’re expecting a big Currie Cup from the lad. 4/10
6) Keegan Daniel. The captain played a superb innings and had a hand in just about everything that went right for the Sharks. My best forward of the match. 8/10
7) Marcell Coetzee. Busy as always, with lots of important tackles and a lovely maiden try to boot. What a player, what a season! 7/10
8) Ryan Kankowski. Another solid performance and simply a cut above what we’ve seen from Kanko in the last year or so. Wasn’t quite up to the standard he set last week against the Bulls but was still pretty useful. 7/10
9) Charl McLeod. Quality of service was a real issue, with many passes not going anywhere near the intended recipients. Scored a nice try, though, but needs to find the form he showed against the Bulls – and fast. 6/10
10) Fred Michalak. Another superb, confident and assured showing from a man who’s in the form of his life. 8/10
11) Lwazi Mvovo. Lots of mistakes out there – looks like he’s getting a little frustrated that hte ball isn’t going his way at the moment. Lwazi is a far better player than what we saw on Saturday. 5/10
12) Frans Steyn. A real mixed bag, as we’ve come to expect from Fransie. Added superb presence to the midfield, both on attack and defence and more than once rescued a bad ball situation through nothing other than strength on his feet. The yellow card was abysmal, though and cost him a point. 6/10
13) Tim Whitehead. Didn’t always have a huge amount to do, but looked composed and “switched on” whenever he was asked to contribute. Great defence and some lovely touches on attack. 7/10
14) JP Pietersen. Another stellar all-round performance from the birthday boy. Well done sir – best player on the pitch. 8/10
15) Pat Lambie. Another who looked to have been rushed back from injury. Pat was pretty good at fullback, without being great, yet unfortunately went off injured at half time. 7/10
16) Bismarck du Plessis. He’s Bismarck. That’s all you need to say. Simply a cut above any other hooker in the country. 8/10
17) Wiehahn Herbst. Looked good – with some great hits and a lovely pop to set up Daniel for the opening try. 7/10
18) Jandre Marais. Great intensity and commitment from a very underrated player. 7/10
19) Willem Alberts. Together with Bismarck, he turned around a stuttering forward effort. This man, when on song, is worth his weight in gold. And that’s a LOT of gold! 8/10
20) Jacques Botes. Not on long enough to rate.
21) Paul Jordaan. Not on long enough to rate.
22) Louis Ludik. Showed in just 40 minutes that he’s the Sharks’ best fullback, bar none. 8/10