On a Saturday evening when any prospect of attractive rugby seemed as dim as the cloudy skies above and distant as the sun that was nowhere to be seen, the Sharks nevertheless managed, somehow, to emerge bonus-point victors against the old coastal foe. Let’s see how the individuals did.
1) Dale Chadwick. Work rate continues to improve steadily and was part of a Sharks front row that literally destroyed their opposition from the first scrum to the last. One or two fumbles on attack, which is forgivable under the circumstances. 7/10
2) Pieter Dixon. Did a great holding job and certainly contributed to the niggle that, I’m sure, led to the Province boys losing their rag so blatantly in the second half. Messed up one lineout, though and was generally a bit behind the pace in open play. 6/10
3) Wiehahn Herbst. A lovely game from a guy who’s been under a bit of pressure so far this campaign. Wors was at his destructive best in the scrum and also put in some truly ferocious hits on defence. 7/10
4) Jandre Marais. This guy is all about work rate and it’s great to see him building up a head of steam with an extended run in the starting lineup. Jandre is hard and uncompromising and was a key part in a strong, dominant Sharks tight 5 showing. 7/10
5) Anton Bresler. Strange to think that this bloke is now the elder statesman in this forward unit… Anton continues to step up and it was work in combination with the Marais brothers that provided so much of the impetus to the Sharks’ forward charge. Also takes a mean lineout ball. 7/10
6) Jacques Botes. This was all about experience. The Sharks loosies had it, the Province boys didn’t. It showed. Boots rolled with the punches (literally) and as he is wont to do, popped up at all the right places all the time. 8/10
7) Jean Deysel. Got involved in a little pushing and shoving with Jebb Sinclair which earned him a bit of a questionable yellow. Otherwise, Wollie was pretty good, but not quite at his best on a night when his new offloading game was always going to be a bit of a non-starter. Some lovely big hits, though. 7/10
8) Keegan Daniel. The epitome of keeping his head when all about him are losing theirs. A great game by the skipper and a wonderful individual try that turned the course of the match. 8/10
9) Cobus Reinach. Showed that if anyone truly believed tactical kicking was NOT a part of his armoury, well, then they were wrong. Cobus is the complete package at scrumhalf and turned in another compelling and mature performance in atrocious weather. 8/10
10) Riaan Viljoen. Tjop was his usual mixed bag of sublime and awful, but ultimately when one looks back, I think that his boot will have proved decisive on a night when territory was everything and attempting to hold the ball a fool’s errand. Kicked a little too much towards the latter stages, when the Sharks had numerical superiority, but otherwise didn’t do too badly. 6/10
11) Rosco Speckman. An all-action debut for young Rosco, who set up the first try with a sublime chip and otherwise defended well above his weight in a game when ball to the wings was always going to be scarce. 7/10
12) Meyer Bosman. If there are any other candidates for season MVP at this stage, I think they may as well get their coats and head on home. Meyer is stepping up week in and week out with excellent defence, strong work with the ball and a goal-kicking boot that seems unable to miss from anywhere! 9/10
13) Tim Whitehead. A quiet game in his first outing back. 5/10
14) Odwa Ndungane. He does what he does – and what he does is somehow, magically, always be where he’s needed, to do the thing that needs doing – whether it’s a catch, a tackle, a clean, or sometimes all three within the space of a few seconds! 7/10
15) Louis Ludik. Showed again that he’s the best fullback in the country. Didn’t put a foot wrong on defence all night and joined the line with menace and purpose when given the opportunity. 8/10
16) Monde Hadebe. The increase in pace and intensity once he came on was marked. 7/10
17) Julian Redelinghuys. Unused
18) Peet Marais. Got stuck in properly – playing like a guy with far more caps to his name. 6/10
19) Bry Stander. Not long enough to be rated.
20) Charl McLeod. Looked pretty good, but not quite as good as Reinach. Some odd decisions at the end, with the Sharks up by 15 men to 12. 7/10
21) Marius Joubert. Not on long enough to be rated.
22) Sbura Sithole. Few opportunities to do much of anything. 5/10