In a pretty frustrating game for the most part, the Sharks beat the Cheetahs pretty much everywhere except for the scoreboard – right up until the dying moments, when they finally managed to get their noses ahead. Let’s rate on the players on a reasonably good effort over all.
1) Dale Chadwick. Did all you can ask of a prop and more, with his primary job, scrumming, particularly well looked after. Had Marcel van der Merwe properly beaten after a quarter of the game and also tackled strongly and carried the ball well. A great follow on performance from his heroics at Loftus. 8/10
2) Monde Hadebe. Far less flashy than he was on debut, but performed so much better in the set piece that I almost prefer this version of Monde. Line out work was flawless and the Sharks dominated the scrums against a highly-rated Cheetahs pack. A few good carries too. 7/10
3) Wiehahn Herbst. Stood like a rock in the scrum this week and worked incredibly hard at the breakdown and on defence. Also put in a few nice carries and more passes than you’d expect from a 3. A very good game. 7/10
4) Steven Sykes. A quiet game from Steven, who needs to find some consistent form after a strong showing the week before. 5/10
5) Anton Bresler. Asked to do far less than usual on defence, but played a stronger linking and carrying role this week. 6/10
6) Jacques Botes. A bit of a curate’s egg this week. Jacques did a huge amount of work on defence, as well as hitting a massive number of breakdowns. However, a few errors at key stages, none more so than dropping the ball for the Cheetahs to score their first try, count against him. 6/10
7) Jean Deysel. Didn’t tackle as well as he usually does, but the captain stood out in a lot of other areas, with plenty of ball carries and a fair few offloads too, which we’ve not seen before. Above all, inspired the team to a great victory that seemed impossible with only 20 minutes to go, for which he deserves much praise. 8/10
8) Keegan Daniel. The Sharks’ deadliest weapon on attack and probably the best forward in the country when it comes to breaking the line. Won some beautiful ball out of the air and also at the lineout, tackled well and played a vital linking role. Welcome back, Keegan. You’re appreciated here, mate! 9/10
9) Charl McLeod. A good game from the scrumhalf, whose service was crisp and sure all evening. Perhaps attempted to break just slightly too often and was also guilty of losing the ball rather too easily in the run-up to the second Cheetahs try – otherwise, very well done. 7/10
10) Riaan Viljoen. A mixed bag. Kicking out of hand wasn’t quite as good as we’ve come to expect and he was well looked-after by the Cheetahs defence. Tackled well, though and worked very hard in carrying the ball up. Also scored the opening try, so not a bad return all round. 6/10
11) Sbura Sithole. Was involved often right from the start and gave a good account of himself. Everyone will point out the one moment where Rhule beat him for pace, but I feel it would be unfair to single out the lone bad point in an otherwise good performance. 6/10
12) Meyer Bosman. Welcome back Meyer. Was flawless at centre and even better at flyhalf, once the ball got into his hands more regularly. A key player for the Sharks this Currie Cup, with a flawless goal-kicking boot too. 9/10
13) Paul Jordaan. Such amazing skills and such a wonderful turn of pace – Jordaan sparks magic every time he touches the ball and the Sharks simply have to find a way to get it to him more often. 7/10
14) Odwa Ndungane. Has a knack for turning up in the right place at the right time and with two tries in addition to some fine all-round play, you really can’t ask for more of the old man. 8/10
15) Louis Ludik. Did his basics admirably, but wasn’t the threat on attack that we’ve come to expect this week. 6/10
16) Pieter Dixon. Unused
17) Julian Redelinghuys. Unused
18) Jandre Marais. A great physical cameo from Marais, as we’ve come to expect. Gets involved in everything and loves the rough stuff. 7/10
19) Franna Kleinhans. Not long enough to be rated.
20) Cobus Reinach. Not long enough to be rated.
21) Marius Joubert. A very useful 25 minutes in which he added solidity and did what he needed to do. 6/10
22) Rosco Speckman. Unused