It’s always difficult to rate the guys after a game in which they played really, really well for the most part, yet ultimately lost the game. Still, that extra digit in the “w” column is the reason we take the field each week and if the guys don’t manage to pull through when it matters, I feel the ratings should reflect that. Here we go (and as always, feel free to disagree).
1) Dale Chadwick. The scrums were up and down, but failed at the crucial juncture. Chadwick was busy as a ball carrier, but made little real ground and also missed a crucial tackle late in the game. 5/10
2) Craig Burden. Not quite the bustling Burden we’ve come to expect, which is probably understandable given the lack of game time in recent weeks. Basics were decent (ok, scrumming not so much) and tended to drift laterally with ball in hand. 6/10
3) Wiehahn Herbst. A mixed bag, like Chadwick at scrum time. That said, when Wors did manage to get the hit, it was a sight to behold. 6/10
4) Steven Sykes. Did some good things here and there, but as the senior guy in the pack, didn’t do enough to really dominate the opposition, or keep his opposite number in check. 6/10
5) Anton Bresler. I feel like I’m repeating myself a bit when it comes to the tights, but Anton was about as good as the others – really standing out at times, but on the whole, failing to do enough to lay the platform for victory – particularly in the second half. In his case, though, we need to acknowledge that he wasn’t on the field when either of the Lions tries were scored. 6/10
6) Jacques Botes. A pretty good game from the nuggety flanker, who flew into tackles with real intent and generally popped up at the right places at the right times. 7/10
7) Jean Deysel. Did plenty of ball carrying, but actually accomplished very little with that possession. Has a tendency to take the ball standing still and make it far too easy for the opposition to gang-tackle him behind the advantage line. 5/10
8) Keegan Daniel. The best forward on the pack, by a long chalk. Keegan was utterly sublime on Saturday and if everyone else’s efforst could have matched his, the Sharks would have won easily. 9/10
9) Cobus Reinach. This kid is a special talent and week by week is showing that he is probably already the best scrumhalf in the Sharks squad. Wonderful pass, wonderful reading of the game and oodles of gas when needed. Superb! 8/10
10) Riaan Viljoen. Tjop’s somewhat agricultural style of play at flyhalf is starting to become a real weak point for the Sharks. He’s far too easy to read and tends to take on too much on his own. 5/10
11) Lwazi Mvovo. Looked superb when he had the ball and was instrumental in the Sharks’ first try. The old malaise of not doing enough to get te ball, though, was again in evidence. 6/10
12) Meyer Bosman. The usually trusty kicking boot let him down a bit on Saturday and while he did his bit on attack, the Lions centres were allowed far too much space to run. 6/10
13) Tim Whitehead. Had no ball to speak of on attack and while he did his bit on defence, the failure to really manage Lionel Mapoe let to great territorial gains for the Lions. 6/10
14) Odwa Ndungane. I feel like I could write exactly the same comment about Odwa every week. In a backline that occasionally struggles for direction, Odwa can always be counted on to do the basics superbly and weigh in with the occasional moment of magic. 7/10
15) Louis Ludik. Once again stood out as a cut above the others playing at this level. How the national selectors can continue to overlook Ludik remains a real mystery to me. 8/10
16) Monde Hadebe. Not long enough to be rated.
17) Julian Redelinghuys. Seemed to stand quite well at tighthead, but his introduction also coincided with a marked decline in the Sharks’ up-front dominance. 6/10
18) Jandre Marais. Can never be accused of not trying his best, or not throwing heart and soul into every single tackle and collision. We need more men of his ilk. 7/10
19) Brynard Stander. Not quite long enough for a rating, but this kid looks the business and must be pushing Deysel hard on current form.
20) Charl McLeod. It’s no coincidence that the Sharks started to lose when Reinach went off… and that’s about the kindest thing I can say. 5/10
21) Paul Jodraan. Another player to deliver a mixed bag. Put in some decent runs, but also made some silly mistakes, one of which led directly to a Lions try. 6/10
22) Sbura Sithole. Unused