Sharks player ratings v Highlanders

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 7 May 2012 at 09:21
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The Sharks battled their way to a frustrating 28-16 win over the Higlanders on Saturday, with Pat Lambie scoring all the points in an otherwise ordinary display. That said, any win at all is better than even the prettiest loss, so our ratings will reflect that to some extent.

1) Beast Mtawarira. A destructive scrummaging display reminiscent of the Beast at his best. Loose play will improve with match fitness, but it’s good to see him back. 7/10
2) Bismarck du Plessis. A barn-storming showing that saw him stand tall as the pick of the forwards on the day. Was a colossus at the breakdown, with at least 3 successful turnovers. Set piece work was pretty good on the day too. 8/10
3) Jannie du Plessis. Scrummed well, but was quiet otherwise. 5/10
4) Steven Sykes. An error-strewn display from the big man, marked by poor defence and woeful discipline. 4/10
5) Anton Bresler. Great lineout work and some huge efforts on defence. Work rate stood out. 7/10
6) Jacques Botes. Conceded a yellow card, which cost his team momentum. Botes was busy, yet lacked the effectiveness he showed against the Chiefs. 5/10
7) Marcell Coetzee. Great presence and work rate, particularly on defence. Could focus more on continuity when he has the ball in hand. 7/10
8) Keegan Daniel. Set up Lambie’s try with a great kick in a pretty useful all-round display. 7/10

9) Charl McLeod. Responsible for some pretty ordinary service which hampered the back-line all game long. 5/10
10) Pat Lambie. Sealed the win with superb goal-kicking; that said, his in-game decision-making was questionable at times with far too much decent ball kicked away. 7/10
11) Lwazi Mvovo. Had no opportunity to do anything much with ball in hand and was caught napping on defence a few times. 5/10
12) Tim Whitehead. The half backs conspired to kick away most of the ball they managed to wrestle back from the forwards, meaning little to do for the centres other than defend. Whitehead did this effectively. 6/10
13) Paul Jordaan. Having this kid on the field, but never giving him the ball, is like having a Ferrari in a garage that has no door. He looked a little lost defensively at first, but improved as the game progressed. Few other opportunities to show what he can do, though. 5/10
14) JP Pietersen. Same argument applies as to the rest of the three quarters. No ball, no chances. Defended pretty well. 6/10
15) Louis Ludik. The pick of the backs, he put in a controlled and measured display at fullback that was the antithesis of what we’ve seen from Riaan Viljoen in recent weeks. Lacks a little clip on the counter, but makes no mistakes in any of his primary areas of responsibility. 8/10

16) Craig Burden. Unused. There’s a surprise
17) Wiehahn Herbst. Only just scraped 10 minutes on the field, in two periods. Never really got into his game, but looked ok at what he did do. 6/10
18) Pieter-Steph du Toit. Not on long enough to be rated.
19) Jean Deysel. Not on long enough to be rated.
20) Ryan Kankowski. Not on long enough to be rated.
21) Fred Michalak. Unused.
22) Meyer Bosman. Unused.


  • Team as a whole 6/10.

  • Comment 1, posted at 07.05.12 09:29:26 by JarsonX Reply
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  • Imho Botes has become a better impact player than a starting one. Time for Plum to give underperforming Jannie some time of.

  • Comment 2, posted at 07.05.12 09:32:19 by JarsonX Reply
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  • Great to see Beast taking apart the highly rated Highlanders pack!

    JP looked a bit rusty out on the wing, definitely needs more time there if he’s going to play wing for the Boks.

    Poor use of the bench in my opinion, but maybe the coaches saw something we didn’t.

    P.s. Does anybody know what the story is with Jimmy Cowan? He won the World Cup last year and this year he isn’t starting.

  • Comment 3, posted at 07.05.12 09:48:40 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 3) : Aaron Smith is rated as the next best thing since sliced bread in Kiwi land

  • Comment 4, posted at 07.05.12 09:52:03 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 3) :

    I don’t think the bench was used poorly at all..

    Better to make changes only when necessary than to make stupid changes that only break the momentum..

    Seriously, who would you have brought on earlier, that would have had a positive impact on this match?

  • Comment 5, posted at 07.05.12 09:56:35 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • As for the ratings Rob, I agree with your assessment of Lambie, was great that he got all the points, but it was far from his best match.

    An interesting point raised by a fellow writer in the press box, do you notice how much quieter our locks are in comparison to other SA team’s locks. Now this could be a good or bad thing, as the others may be more flashy and ours get the job done, or ours are simply lacking in the loose play department. Your thoughts?

  • Comment 6, posted at 07.05.12 09:58:21 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • How awesome was the Beast in the scrums? You could just see how much he enjoyed being back in business

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.05.12 09:59:03 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 5) : Only guy to my mind is Burden after the form he showed, and maybe a longer run for PSD.

    I’m more concerned that our bench will be under-cooked when we really need them.

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.05.12 09:59:20 by StevieS Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 4) : Thanks πŸ˜€

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.05.12 10:00:03 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 8) :

    I’d rather win the matches we can with the players on the park, than worry about under cooked professional players..

    Burden is a loose player, it was pouring with rain, Bismarck was having a storming game, and his peadership on the field is far superior to that of Burden.. Its a no-brainer really..

  • Comment 10, posted at 07.05.12 10:01:31 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @StevieS (Comment 8) : Burden is still lacking in the defensive side as his stats showed in the games he started. Bismarck was having probably one of his best if not best game of the year.

  • Comment 11, posted at 07.05.12 10:05:29 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @KingRiaan (Comment 7) : couldn’t have come at a better time, thank goodness. Chadwick was decent but made too many game changing errors. when I saw Chadwick miss that final tackle in the voda semi game and let that blue bulls player in for the winning try, I breathed a sigh of relief that Beast was back.

  • Comment 12, posted at 07.05.12 10:18:11 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • Our wings must be the laziest in the competition. Maybe they should have a look at the Brumbies games to see what it means for modern wings to get involved. Ours just stand around waiting for the ball to come to them. Even Habana has a higher workrate.

  • Comment 13, posted at 07.05.12 10:18:50 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @rhineshark (Comment 13) : Brumbies backs coached by Steven Larkham – that is the difference

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.05.12 10:37:09 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 14) : JIP. CouldnΒ΄t agree more. What I still wanted to add to my previous comment is that our wings only come off their positions when they try to rush up for the intercept.

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.05.12 10:39:17 by rhineshark Reply
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  • I think our wing’s positional play is more a result of the idiotic coaching of Reece-Edwards, because even when they played for the Boks under Snor, they had a better work rate and positional play.

  • Comment 16, posted at 07.05.12 10:52:08 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @StevieS (Comment 3) :

    Cowan went from first-choice All Blacks scrumhalf, to not even making the 22 for the final. Big dip in form. Aaron Smith gives them a bit more ‘liveliness’ with Cowan being a great option on the bench to close out games, imo.

    Don’t think NZ is going well at scrumhalf though. Kerr-Barlow had one game mixed with mediocrity. Perenara is talented but very raw. Aaron Smith a small guy who I’d say has reached his peak. Outside of Andy Ellis they’re struggling to find anyone at 9 for the AB’s.

  • Comment 17, posted at 07.05.12 11:29:34 by hendrikp Reply

  • Was tearing my hair out watching Lambie and McLeod kicking all our hard won (what little there was) possession away. This must have been part of Plum’s game plan though. And although I hate to say it, coz I hate aimless kicking and gifting the other team attacking ball, maybe it worked in these conditions.

    Please please could McLeod go back to the way he played before his Bok call-up, ie no flapping his arms around, minimal kicking and not taking two steps each time he passes the ball. Quick accurate passing is what made him such a pleasure to have in the team

  • Comment 18, posted at 07.05.12 11:56:00 by jonnow Reply

  • Without getting too technical here, I think I have to put my opinion out there:

    With regards to the kicking game, even though it is very frustrating to watch, and will not directly lead to many tries being scored, the way the breakdown is blown has led to this game plan.

    Attacking teams get penalised far more than defending teams do, at the breakdown specificalle, and this was quite clear in the amount of penalties the Sharks got, and thus getting points on the board.

    I agree it is frustrating to watch, but it was effective against a pretty strong team.

    I am not happy with the performance, but the plan was there to just win the game, and that plan worked at the end of the day.

  • Comment 19, posted at 07.05.12 12:31:30 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • Ja, the kicking was at times poor, but the right ploy in the conditions. Also agree that this wasn’t a game for Burden – he hasn’t convinced me in the tight yet.

    A gritty win, with the highlight being the scrum.

    Regarding the locks, Bresler works very hard, but doesn’t carry or compete well. Sykes varies between average and good. We just don’t have the quality there that the Bulls and Stormers do. Still, the current pairing are doing a good job.

  • Comment 20, posted at 07.05.12 12:48:49 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 20) : I did see them once or twice compete in the line outs – which was a total improvement from the Chiefs game. Saw a stat during the game that the Landers did loose 3 line outs by then – can’t say if our locks had anything to do with it though.

  • Comment 21, posted at 07.05.12 12:52:18 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 19) : Even without the interpretation, we can’t seem to retain the ball through the number of phases that are required, so for sure its a good option.

  • Comment 22, posted at 07.05.12 12:54:50 by neilster Reply

  • Good to see some accurate ratings Rob, the Sunday paper’s ones were ridiculous!
    I also spotted a change in Coetzee’s ball carrying which was very encouraging. The kid has so much power in his legs he doesn’t need to carry the ball under the arm and fend. Opponents were targeting this and ripping the ball out.
    On Sat he held on for dear life with both hands and yep, still got that go forward that we know he can.
    If every player were to cut down his error rate similar to above, even a 2% improvement per player, means 30% improvement for the team.

  • Comment 23, posted at 07.05.12 13:02:45 by neilster Reply

  • At least we won….think Lambie could have got an 8..he did score all our points and I am sure that the kicking is from the coaches not him….about time these guys fell on their swords! πŸ˜₯

  • Comment 24, posted at 07.05.12 13:39:37 by Just a Fan Reply

    Just a Fan
  • Sheeshhhhlikit! Klomp moangatte!! We won…end of story! I told them the difference between winning and losing is not to give up, and even if it was fumbling and errory, that’s exactly what they did. Well done, my Boys!


  • Comment 25, posted at 07.05.12 13:52:13 by Ice Reply
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  • @Just a Fan (Comment 24) : Agreed. Lambie carried us to victory.

    This week we`ve got another easy one. Lets make it count!

    ( er just don`t tell the players we think it`ll be easy, we want them focused at training not worried about high tide and their next surfing opportunity! :mrgreen: )

  • Comment 26, posted at 07.05.12 14:15:33 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • I do feel the combo of Tim and Paul did not work, would have had Bosman pairing with either instead. No-one bothered to straigten lines and creating gaps, pushing our wings in corners without any space.

  • Comment 27, posted at 07.05.12 14:26:53 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 27) : The first time they ever played together as a combination – so I would think they deserve another chance

  • Comment 28, posted at 07.05.12 14:38:55 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 28) : I am not saying they should not, but surely there are. Few basics in the position that could have improved the performance?

    Because of that fact, I would have put a more experienced player in with a “newby”. Might have made the transition easier for them.

  • Comment 29, posted at 07.05.12 14:45:14 by Ice Reply
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  • Seems to be the weekend of forwards shaming backs with clearance kicks – rugbystats has Brussouw as the leader with a kick of 53m, Latimer of Chiefs with 50m and Bismarck in third with a clearance of 46m 😯

  • Comment 30, posted at 07.05.12 14:49:52 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 30) : That Bismarck kick was excellent! LOL did not even look like he gave it a good punt and it went so far!

  • Comment 31, posted at 07.05.12 14:54:29 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 31) : I guess he thought, well if the backs don’t wanna kick to get out of the 22, I better do it!

  • Comment 32, posted at 07.05.12 15:03:18 by Ice Reply
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  • i am just happy with the win. the defence and scrums were excellent but the attacking was rather scary to watch (note to reader: this does not mean scary attack πŸ˜†

  • Comment 33, posted at 07.05.12 15:16:15 by rekinek Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 2) : I would like to see Kanko getting more game time but was glad not to see deysel or alberts starting.

  • Comment 34, posted at 07.05.12 15:17:22 by rekinek Reply
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  • @StevieS (Comment 3) : cowan’s also getting old, time for new blood.

  • Comment 35, posted at 07.05.12 15:18:42 by rekinek Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 27) : i liked tim and jp. It was Jordaan’s first outing so he deserves to be cut some slack, but he was not impressive I only noticed him because he made few mistakes, would not have given him 5.

  • Comment 36, posted at 07.05.12 15:21:10 by rekinek Reply
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  • @ Ice (Comment 27) I feel the same. Bosman is much stronger. The players just pushed them away a few times. Give Bosman at12 and Tim at 13 a change.

  • Comment 37, posted at 07.05.12 15:32:25 by springbok Reply

  • ” Meyer Bosman. Unused.” 10/10
    Marius Joubert not in the meatch 22 10/10 😈

  • Comment 38, posted at 07.05.12 15:36:24 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 38) : πŸ˜†

  • Comment 39, posted at 07.05.12 15:42:33 by Ice Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 30) : Great kick from Bismarck yes. Would have been great if the ball stayed infield though. One of our players were charging down the line.

  • Comment 40, posted at 07.05.12 15:46:57 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 31) : He’s got some serious power in his upper legs.

  • Comment 41, posted at 07.05.12 15:49:11 by Ben Reply
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  • @StevieS (Comment 3) : Cowan is going to Europe next season if I’m not mistaken.

  • Comment 42, posted at 07.05.12 15:51:06 by Ben Reply
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  • @springbok (Comment 37) : Agree, but I will have Paul on the bench for tim

  • Comment 43, posted at 07.05.12 15:56:16 by Ice Reply
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  • @springbok (Comment 37) : @Ice (Comment 27) : You guys are kidding right?

    Go watch last years matches with MB in mid-field again please. πŸ™„

    Nevermind last year, just have a look at the last five minutes of the our match against the Chiefs!

  • Comment 44, posted at 07.05.12 16:10:06 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 44) : its not last year…and how can u judge a guy for 5 mins??

    He had a good few moments, just as they can claim a lack of gametime, so can Bosman

  • Comment 45, posted at 07.05.12 16:20:21 by Ice Reply
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  • @original Pierre (Comment 44) Why don’t you look at the 2 games that he played such brilliant rugby this year, and as a sub he also played 3 or 4 good games. Even the nr 12 in the team of rugby 365 those two matches. Do you know that players can have a bad year, and then a good or even brilliant year! Be reasonable as a rugby supporter. Sit on the bench week after week and play for 10 minutes and see if you can play brilliant every time?

  • Comment 46, posted at 07.05.12 16:22:39 by springbok Reply

  • @Ice (Comment 45) : the emphasis on few.
    I think your judgment is clouded by … (can’t say just now children are reading :mrgreen:

  • Comment 47, posted at 07.05.12 16:38:50 by rekinek Reply
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  • The Sharks performance on Saturday showed me either 1 of 2 things. Either the coaching staff has realised that either them or the players cannot deliver a high paced, try scoring game and have instead opted for a no risk defend for your life approach to try win games….or the players/ coaches has lost all imagination and ideas and are just going out without a plan and hoping for the best and that the opposition have an off day.

  • Comment 48, posted at 07.05.12 16:39:33 by SheldonK Reply

  • @springbok (Comment 46) : in case of Meyer I think one can be forgiven for limiting the analysis to his performance in Sharks jersey. IMO too few of these good performances for a seasoned player like him.

  • Comment 49, posted at 07.05.12 16:40:39 by rekinek Reply
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  • I’d change only one player in the back line for saturday, give Reinach a chance…
    In the front they can consider giving Keegan and Marcel a rest… Jannie too…

  • Comment 50, posted at 07.05.12 16:52:33 by Franshark Reply
  • @rekinek (Comment 49) : I am willing to give him the gametime to keep on improving…look how long a seasoned player like habana was given to get back!

  • Comment 51, posted at 07.05.12 16:55:17 by Ice Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 49) : I honestly think ur dislike of Bosman is clouding ur judgement 😈

  • Comment 52, posted at 07.05.12 16:58:31 by Ice Reply
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  • We won and for me that mattered the most. Let us give the boys a break from critizing them all of the time. They won the bloody game, good grief you would have thought we lost by 30 or something with all the negative comments here.

    Sure we never played brilliant, but we won and for now that is what counts.

    Anyhow I think Lambie should have got a 8 or 9. Without those 28 points he scored we would have lost? Every point we got was from Lambie.

  • Comment 53, posted at 07.05.12 17:12:29 by Puma Reply

  • @Puma (Comment 53) : meant – criticizing

  • Comment 54, posted at 07.05.12 17:14:21 by Puma Reply

  • @Ice (Comment 52) : once he start delivering I will reconsider 😈 poor Meyer, with JLP gone I just had to concentrate on him…. oh now wait let’s not forget Marius Joubert.

    knowing my luck just now we get one of these 2 at the table, perhaps dudette should not be so eager in booking so that we could sit with some promising youngster πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 55, posted at 07.05.12 17:21:08 by rekinek Reply
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  • @Puma (Comment 53) : That’s true πŸ˜›

  • Comment 56, posted at 07.05.12 17:22:29 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 56) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 57, posted at 07.05.12 17:28:29 by Puma Reply

  • @rekinek (Comment 55) : I’ll have a heart attack if we get Joubert! But remember Bosman’s derrierre is not shabby at all! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 58, posted at 07.05.12 17:44:01 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 58) : Oh! And the youngsters are scared of us! πŸ˜†

  • Comment 59, posted at 07.05.12 17:50:43 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 58) : and I was avoiding this word for the children’s sake :mrgreen:

    should this be the case I will have a huge dillemma between sitting as far away from him but having to face him or moving a bit closer and have a profile – maybe we can talk music πŸ˜†

  • Comment 60, posted at 07.05.12 18:42:52 by rekinek Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 59) : we can always bring an extra shirt πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 61, posted at 07.05.12 18:43:56 by rekinek Reply
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  • @jasonx (commenyt 2)
    I agree. Jannie looking a bit tired. Perhaps time to give Schonert a place in the 22. He performed well for the XV – lets see how he does in the big time.

  • Comment 62, posted at 07.05.12 19:09:19 by snakeslayer Reply

  • I am extremely happy for the win, the players needed it, those guys give it their all every weekend!

    Would be facinating to see this bench for the Force game
    16. Burden
    17. Schonert
    18. PSdT
    19. Tera
    20. Reinach
    21. Bosman/Jordaan (utility)
    22. Prinsloo

    Not saying any of them should take over from the regulars yet, but they deserve a shot at the big time, and against the Force we have our best opportunity

  • Comment 63, posted at 07.05.12 22:02:49 by Die Kriek Reply

  • Re the backline: I think the one thing that everyone is forgetting is how slow the ball was getting to the backs mainly due to a very effective opposition pack who were quite happy to play ‘negative’ rugby. If you go back and look at the game the one memorable moment mvovo switch run came when the sharks got quick ball. I thought lambies kicking was due to the rush defenxe preasure placed on the sharks and it did not help tim and jordaan settle at all. I hope the sharks continue with them. They settled defensively and showed potential albeit in very small doses

  • Comment 64, posted at 07.05.12 22:13:15 by byron Reply

  • @Die Kriek (Comment 63) : The Force game should be targeted for a bonus point. This is not the time to stuff around with experimentations.

    If we really want to make a go of this we should play our best available combination and give it 100%.

  • Comment 65, posted at 08.05.12 09:00:41 by Original Pierre Reply
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