Sharks player rating v Leopards

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 4 Oct 2010 at 09:16
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The challenge when rating the players after a game like Friday’s is that, at all times, you need to take into account the quality of opposition. Then again, you can only play what’s in front of you and giving any low ratings in a game where you emerge 9-tries-to-zero victors would seem somewhat petty. The Sharks were pretty good all round, but there were some periods of uninspiring, sloppy play that won’t be acceptable against stronger opposition.

Let’s look at how the individuals did.

1) Eugene van Staden. The burly “Gena” is fast becoming a crowd favourite at the Tank and put in another solid showing. Playing for the first time at loosehead (for the Sharks, anyway), he struggled in one or two scrums and also dropped a few balls in contact. Scored a great try, though and his work rate is superb. 7/10
2) Craig Burden. Burden is just such a valuable ball carrier for the Sharks and on so many occasions on Friday night, he was the guy who injected a little bit of gas and forced the line break that made things happen. Didn’t score any himself, but set up a few along the way. A solid performance. 8/10
3) Jannie du Plessis. Scored two tries and was an absolute rock in the scrums and on defence – this in his first game back after a spell on the sidelines. Well played, Jannemen. He’s going to be a key player for the Sharks in the weeks to come. 8/10
4) Steven Sykes. Always there or thereabouts, but Sykesie is somehow just not really “standing out” at the moment. I’m always loathe to give him a low rating, because when we look at the stats, we always see him putting in huge work at the breakdowns, which is his job, after all. He put in some neat touches around the park as well. I just think he can be better. 6/10
5) Gerhard Mostert. Was pretty active, but also dropped a few passes and was found a bit lacking in the match fitness department. His first game back in over 6 months, though, so it’s encouraging that he simply managed to get through without injury. Mossie will only improve from here. 5/10
6) Jaques Botes. I don’t think the Sharks always realise just how vital Botes is to their efforts. There is no player in the country with a higher work rate than him and his uncanny ability to pop up in the right place at the right time, putting in a deft pass or a vital tackle makes him utterly, utterly indispensable. 9/10
7) Willem Alberts. Only got 20 minutes this week, which is 20 minutes more than he should have played. Not really fair to give him a rating on that, but he was on course for an 8, at least. Let’s just hope and pray his knee injury isn’t serious.
8) Keegan Daniel. Keegs showed two important things here. Firstly, he has the maturity and respect of his teammates needed to captain the side. And secondly, he’s a superb number 8 and really shouldn’t be played out of position on the flank. An accomplished all-round performance that showed off the variety of his skills. 9/10

9) Charl McLeod. Another accomplished performance from the number 9, although his service did start to fall off a bit once the forwards started to play a little looser. The high rating given to his flyhalf, though, is a testament to how well McLeod performs the basics of his position. 8/10
10) Andre Pretorius. Performed admirably in his first start for the Sharks, with some neat touched on attack and a flawless goal-kicking display. Will ahve given John Plumtree some big selection headaches with this performance. 9/10
11) Lwazi Mvovo. A quiet game by his standards, although had the ball bounced differently on a few occasions, could well have celebrated a hat trick. The timing and synergy between him and Ndungane wasn’t quite there on the night and the back three lacked potency as a result. 7/10
12) Riaan Swanepoel. Started off well with a superb break to set up the first try, but seemed to get sucked into a wrestling match afterwards. So strong on defence, but Swannie is just lacking that extra bit of unpredictability that would make him more of a threat on attack. 7/10
13) Andries Strauss. Played out of position at 13, where he simply doesn’t have the pace to make the position work. Always tries his guts out and is superb on defence and as a support player, but not the strike runner we need. 6/10
14) Odwa Ndungane. Played a big part in destroying two regulation scoring opportunities for his partner Mvovo, but you have to realise that Odwa makes more mistakes than other players simply because he does so much more work around the park. Scored two of his own to mark a memorable 50th Currie Cup cap. Another player whose true value is only realised when he’s not there. 8/10
15) Louis Ludik. A constant threat with ball in hand and a rock on defence. Ludik is the complete fullback and is improving steadily with each outing. 8/10

16) Kyle Cooper. Played his part in maintaining the forward supremacy in the second half, with a high work rate and surprising pace for such a big man. Sharks MUST keep this lad at all costs. 8/10
17) Pat Cilliers. Forced to play a bit of front-row merry-go-round, but Pat was solid on the night, if not spectacular. 7/10
18) Anton Bresler. Enjoyed a rare 30 minutes of top rugby and revelled in the opportunity, hitting rucks with gusto and doing the basics of his position flawlessly. 7/10
19) Michael Rhodes. A tough one to rate. Mike has suffered from “bench syndrome” the last few weeks and looked a little rusty – dropping a few passes and failing to exert his physical presence quite the way one would expect. He’s still a talented player, though and in time can become a very useful alternative to Alberts and Jean Deysel. 6/10
20) Rory Kockott. Played really well on Friday. Sensed that the urgency and energy levels were flagging a little and injected his own breed of enthusiasm to lift the team around him and make things happen. Rocket hates being on the bench, but he does have the ability to really lift the intensity of the team and keep tired defenders guessing as an impact replacement. 8/10
21) Patrick Lambie. Slotted straight in at flyhalf and looked like he’d been there all along. Pat is so dependable for one of his young years and really is a special talent. The Sharks can build a back line around him that will win trophies with regularity in the years to come. 8/10
22) Luzuko Vulindlu. Surprisingly good and injected the pace that is so missing from Strauss’s game. Zuks is still very raw and needs polishing, but he has all the attributes needed to succeed and the Sharks really do need to get him onto the field more often. 7/10


  • I think Zuks had a good game all around. And I have to say, Swannie is to slow for a centre, I’m sure that Kanko, Daniel, Botes and Burden has more pace.

  • Comment 1, posted at 04.10.10 09:27:38 by Jarson Reply
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  • Maybe Swannie could do a Burden and become a hooker or loose forward.

  • Comment 2, posted at 04.10.10 09:28:57 by Jarson Reply
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  • for once i cant wait to see who plum is going to throw into the mix for the wp clash…personally i would look at playing pretoors at fh..see if he has the bmt to handle stronger opposition..going to be good to see bismark and the beast back..just hope it dont stuff around our continuity..btw does anyone know if you can buy semifinal tickets at the shark tank yet?????

  • Comment 3, posted at 04.10.10 09:43:49 by shaniboi Reply

  • IMO, Beast, Bizzie, Jannie, Adi and JPP must start. AP and Mostert must also get another decent run.

  • Comment 4, posted at 04.10.10 09:49:26 by Jarson Reply
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  • @Jarson (Comment 2) : I believe that’s called a “Reverse Burden” πŸ™‚

  • Comment 5, posted at 04.10.10 10:01:41 by robdylan Reply
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  • I was at the game and really enjoyed it, who can argue with nine tries to none? But I really feel we could have done better. I know I am setting high standards but I know what we are capable of.
    Our passes were shocking. We tended to lob the pass into the air with the catcher having to stop and jump to catch the ball in the air. That is if he caught the ball at all. The Leopards on the other hand threw really good passes. In front of the catcher for him to run on to at speed, something we need to do if we want to achieve our goal of a winner’s medal.
    Our forwards were dominant. We pulled in all their forwards as well as half of their back line yet we continued to bash away with the forwards when there was a three man overlap on the wing. Then when we did swing the ball wide it was only to have props, hookers and locks on the wing with our loosies covering as centres. At stages I felt I should take the poor wingers a deckchair and a cold drink so they would be comfortable watching the action.
    Super critical? Maybe but we are approaching the finals where poor passing and mistakes will be punished. Call me selfish but I want to see that cup back in KZN.

  • Comment 6, posted at 04.10.10 10:05:29 by Grey Shark Reply

  • Pretoors? 9/10? Eish.. He was decent against a very average Leopards team. Goal kicking was superb however. 7/10 from me.

  • Comment 7, posted at 04.10.10 10:10:39 by Sportbilly(Oubaas2009) Reply

  • Hey, Rod…a bit harsh on Rhodes. I thought he had a great game. He isn’t as crashing as Alberts, but he made good meters, with smart and solid runs. I also thought Mostert was strong and put in a lot of work, attending rucks and tackles.

    Strauss isn’t much of a running player, that’s why he’s not a 13, he’s a good link to the guys outside him and made a few excellent passes out wide to put his players into space.

    I thought both Ludik and Odwa had average games. They had many running chances, but butchered to many passes to players in space. That wasn’t fun too see. Those passes is unacceptable at this level. I watched the u/21 play and their passes was of a higher standard than these 2 guys produced, it just not good enough.

  • Comment 8, posted at 04.10.10 10:18:48 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Grey Shark (Comment 6) : The passes was shocking, but the days of a wing waiting for the ball to come to them is long gone. If they want the ball they should look for work. You’ll find the forwards in the backs every now and then. When the ball is taken up by the center, for example, his wing or other backline player will be the fist to arrive at the ruck. No sense in asking your forwards to run all the way to that specific run. Rather get the ball to them to make a few yards, set up a few solid rucks and then bring out the ball to the backs who should be spread out wide by now.

  • Comment 9, posted at 04.10.10 10:25:40 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 8) : I meant Rob… 😳

  • Comment 10, posted at 04.10.10 10:26:38 by Letgo Reply
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  • Morning! From a very non-technical and non-statistical point of view, the positive I am taking out of this game is the fact that we did not stop playing. The game went well into overtime and the guys kept going, so for me I am giving credit where credit is due. I thoroughly enjoyed the game as a whole.

  • Comment 11, posted at 04.10.10 10:43:44 by Ice Reply
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  • Eugene loses too much ball. He almost becomes a liability! I rate him so much, except his ball carrying brings him down. I give im a (6)

  • Comment 12, posted at 04.10.10 10:51:12 by Mocho Reply

  • Very generous with the points this week. For me, only very seldom will a player be awarded with a 9/10.

  • Comment 13, posted at 04.10.10 10:56:37 by rugbypedia Reply

  • like I said, I didn’t want to be too harsh.

    Stats will out the real heroes and villains, as always

  • Comment 14, posted at 04.10.10 11:11:26 by robdylan Reply
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  • @rugbypedia (Comment 13) : Yip, in fact to get a 9/10 rating in a match like this a player would have to be outstanding. The opposition is poor, so we already expect great.

    It was a great performance though and based on that I would mind seeing a 9 behind most of the teams names.

  • Comment 15, posted at 04.10.10 11:12:14 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 11) : I’m with you on this, what a great game to watch. These bottom of the Log games can be so scrappy and I think the Sharks did an awesome job 80% of the time. We scored our first four tries in the first half, things could have gone down hill from there, but we kept on playing really good rugby.

    I was impressed and had a lot of fun watching this game.

    Doesn’t it feel good when we agree!!! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

  • Comment 16, posted at 04.10.10 11:29:49 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 16) : You beyt, chick! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 17, posted at 04.10.10 11:33:46 by Ice Reply
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  • Rob,

    i said this before and you probably laughed at it. But i will say it again and you can laugh once more!!

    Kyle should shed about 5-10 kgs and he will be the ideal inside center. His uncanny ability to spot the gap sets him apart from the rest.

  • Comment 18, posted at 04.10.10 12:26:24 by dawj Reply

  • @Letgo (Comment 9) : When I say waiting the wings were in the back line. The forwards were carrying the ball up and certainly did not need help. I thought that if we had looked to get the ball wide on a couple of occasions the overlap was there.
    Odwa was getting himself involved looking for work and Mvovo was more involved too so i have no complaints about their play. Mvovo has improved a lot in this area during the season in my humble opinion.

  • Comment 19, posted at 04.10.10 12:27:34 by Grey Shark Reply

  • @Grey Shark (Comment 19) : You’re right, the ball should have gone wide on a couple occasions when players decided to rather hang on to the ball. I guess it comes down to decision making and communication to some degree.

  • Comment 20, posted at 04.10.10 14:32:00 by Letgo Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 14) : hey rob, not to be too harsh on sykes, but stats can show that he attended rucks and mauls, but at how many was he effective? i know we will be unable to say, but my point i`m trying to make is that to run from ruck-to-ruck and actually hitting everyone is a major difference. i agree that i dont see enough of him lately…

  • Comment 21, posted at 04.10.10 15:00:40 by VanWilder Reply

  • @VanWilder (Comment 21) : How many games was he rested since even the S14??

  • Comment 22, posted at 04.10.10 16:02:09 by Ice Reply
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  • @dawj (Comment 18) : And we`re desperately short of centres! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 23, posted at 04.10.10 16:56:10 by Original Pierre Reply
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