Sharks player ratings v Saracens

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 27 Jan 2014 at 11:13
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Let’s start off a new season by once again reiterating why we do player ratings; the idea here is not to slate anyone or to apportion blame, but rather to provide a very subjective,yet hopefully fair, analysis of how the individuals performed relative to one another and to the team performance as a whole. Saturday’s pre-season hit-out against Saracens, given the factors working against the Sharks, netted the team an average rating of somewhere between 6 and 7 out of 10, with the second half alone worthy of an 8. That’s not bad for a side that’s played no rugby in the last two months.

1) Beast Mtawarira. A very busy hour on the park, with scrum-work perhaps the only blight on an otherwise impressive showing. Wasn’t used all that much as a ball carrier, but did good work on defence and as a support player at the breakdown. 6/10
2) Bismarck du Plessis. Led the team well in his first outing as captain and was superb at lineout time. Made some strong surges with ball in hand and generally kept his cool, which is encouraging to see. 7/10
3) Jannie du Plessis. A quiet outing after a long injury lay-off. Jannie was penalised a bit too often for my liking, but put in some good work, particularly on defence. 5/10
4) Etienne Oosthuizen. Looks a physical player, but perhaps lacks a little finesse at times. The yellow card was unfortunate, but he atoned for it well with a high work rate while he was on the field. 6/10
5) Pieter-Steph du Toit. Superb in the line-outs and came to the fore strongly as a ball carrier. Little opportunity to show off his “x-factor”, though, and was perhaps a bit unlucky to be shown a yellow card. 7/10
6) Tera Mtembu. For a number 8 playing out of position, the young man put in a truly phenomenal performance on the open side. Huge work on defence and as a support player, he also made a few lovely carries, one of which won crucial metres in the build-up to the opening try. This man is pushing hard for a starting spot in 2014. 8/10
7) Jean Deysel. The best forward on the park for 80 minutes. If Deysel needed to lay down a strong marker and erase any doubts the new coach may have had about elevating him to the leadership group, then this performance will have ticked all of those boxes most emphatically. 8/10
8) Willem Alberts. Put in a typically hard-nosed performance, with some crushing tackles and a huge bounce of Sarries hooker Schalk Brits the highlights. 7/10

9) Cobus Reinach. Not the best performance we’ve seen from the young scrumhalf, with decision-making not as crisp as is needed at this level. Will work hard over the next few weeks to rectify those errors. 5/10
10) Tim Swiel. A bit of a mixed bag from a very brave player, who showed glimpses of what he can do with ball in hand, but perhaps didn’t back himself quite as often as he should have. Showed signs of a very big boot for his size and also tackled manfully in a very busy channel. Can’t really blame him for missed kicks given the wind, but showed his inexperience a little in gifting Saracens a try with a pass that shouldn’t have gone out. 6/10
11) Lwazi Mvovo. A quiet outing, with only a short run or two in the first half to really shout about. Went off injured after 48 minutes. 5/10
12) Andre Esterhuizen. The find of the afternoon for the Sharks. The big youngster proved a real handful for Saracens, bumping off would-be tacklers at will and showing huge strength on his feet. Picture Trevor Halstead with real gas and defter hands and you get the picture. Was never really tested on defence, but looks the real deal with ball in hand. 8/10
13) Paul Jordaan. Has been out of rugby for a good 9 months and the break has taken its toll. His hands were poor on the day, but he battled on manfully for 80 minutes and put in some good work on defence. 5/10
14) Odwa Ndungane. Did some good work on defence, but was hurried into a few clearances that didn’t really find their mark. Always a solid, reliable player with a high work-rate that should be the envy of other players. 6/10
15) Tyler Fisher. Showed encouraging glimpses and was particularly brave under the high ball, occasionally making a bit of ground on the counter as well. Management will be hoping the shoulder knock he took – which forced him off at half time – isn’t too serious. 7/10

16) Kyle Cooper. A superb cameo from the burly Cooper, whose strong work on the carry was instrumental in the Sharks’ last-quarter revival. No sign of the lineout woes that have plagued him in previous seasons either. Settings himself up for a big season. 8/10
17) Dale Chadwick. Contributed well in a forward charge that suited his natural game. Not enough evidence on which to rate his game in the scrums. 7/10
18) Lourens Adriaanse. A busy first 20-minutes for his new team, marked by a high work rate. Was unfortunate to conceded the penalty that led to Saracens’ only points in the second period. 6/10
19) Stephan Lewies. A really good cameo from a youngster who simply plays better and better as the quality of opposition increases. Took some simply astounding line out balls given the conditions and put in some good physical work around the park too. 7/10
20) Jacques Botes. The man for all seasons, warhorse Botes was ever-present, with deft contributions at vital times maintaining continuity as the Sharks pack started to get on top. Rumours of his demise, once again, seem rather exaggerated! 8/10
21) Charl McLeod. Made a clear difference with quick decision-making and crisp service. 7/10
22) Heimar Williams. Had little to do out on the wing, but came to the party beautifully when called upon to round off the Sharks’ second try. This man is a finisher and has an uncanny knack for popping up on the score sheet at crucial times. 7/10
23) Jaco van Tonder. Wasn’t called upon in attack, but was phenomenal on defence in conditions that he’ll not have encountered very often before. 7/10


  • I was impressed with Jaco Van Tonder when he came on.

    Wonder how hard Reinach was fined for his hospital pass to Deysel? πŸ˜†

    Bit of a nothing game with poor reffing.

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.01.14 11:29:17 by Talent Reply
  • I’m glad Tera is doing so well, he’ll push Kanko hard.

    When is Kanko expected back? Are we likely to field our first choice players against the Lions?

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.01.14 11:29:29 by StevieS Reply
  • Jordaan can blow hot and cold, but he is dangerous.

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.01.14 11:31:01 by Talent Reply
  • Perhaps we could look at these combinations?
    15.Esterhuizen/Van Tonder/Marias

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.01.14 11:33:27 by Talent Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 2) : When is the game against the lions?

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.01.14 11:35:31 by R Hayward Reply

  • @StevieS (Comment 2) : According to Twitter, Ryan is due back on 3 Feb. That’s good news, but of course will depend on what sort of state he’s in. Jake will, I’m sure, pick him for the Bulls game if at all possible. He said as much in the build-up to Saturday’s match.

    I don’t know what the selection philosophy will be for the Lions. I doubt we’ll pick a first-choice team.

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.01.14 11:41:54 by robdylan Reply
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  • @R Hayward (Comment 5) : 7 Feb

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.01.14 11:42:02 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : Cool thanks Rob, I assume this will be our last outing as team before SR starts?

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.01.14 11:53:06 by R Hayward Reply

  • Pitch, rain, wind, new coaches, new team……..we lost against a second string Saracens side!

    The rust will come off in the next three weeks and 100% sure we will be ready. Some big guns still to join – Kanko,Pat,JP,Frans

    The depth of player talent is exceptional. Tera, Esterhuizen etc.

    Pick and settle down the backline in the next few weeks.

    Positional concerns :

    Scrumhalf – Charl the best, but definetly not Reinach .. any other youngsters or should we go shopping ?
    Locks – PSDT great talent that will mature during the S15. Line-outs and line-out calls were great- 100% record ! Ettienne Oosthuisen – bad day, 4 penalties , yellow card, knocked the ball…Jake’s boy did not deliver, and potentially a liability going forward. Lewies was good in lineouts. Peet Marais and Edwin Hewitt – S15 experience) are surely better than Oosthuizen ? We lack experience in our locks.
    Locks play a vital role in the scrum and should anchor and support the props. A strong scrumming lock makes a huge difference to a prop. Ask John about bakkies behind him ?

    Pat, first choice and Tim might be talented but surely Fred Zelinga is better than Tim ?

    Who is going to be our fullback ?

    Cant wait for the Lions match – Go Sharks !

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.01.14 11:53:52 by Observer Reply

  • Anybody know how Lwazi is after being stretchered off?

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.01.14 11:56:29 by Caratacus Reply

  • Chadwick looked very slim and trim when he came on. (cue for KSA)
    I also got the impression that the guys are very fit. Defence was outstanding. Sarries rarely broke the line and both tries Sarries scored were ‘unfortunate’

  • Comment 11, posted at 27.01.14 12:01:36 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Observer (Comment 9) :

    It’s a tad early to just start writing players off don’t you think?

  • Comment 12, posted at 27.01.14 12:03:32 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Caratacus (Comment 10) : He’s fine. Just a knock to the head.

  • Comment 13, posted at 27.01.14 12:04:02 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Besides Reinach i think the balance of the team did rather well. Early hint that JW will look to employ bigger loose forwards in an attempt to flood the breakdown with size. Swiel looked a lot better when he was getting the ball from the base. Esterhuizen looks quality and surely needs to be in the 23 somewhere. I liked the look of our more mobile locks. Biggest concern would be the number of silly penalties and number of balls lost in contact/rucks.

  • Comment 14, posted at 27.01.14 12:04:39 by SheldonK Reply

  • @R Hayward (Comment 8) : correct

  • Comment 15, posted at 27.01.14 12:06:46 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 11) : Chadwick has always been slim and trim. The guy has not an ounce of fat anywhere on him :mrgreen: πŸ™„

  • Comment 16, posted at 27.01.14 12:08:23 by robdylan Reply
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  • I’m going to start counting the amount of times Cobus & Charl get written off and hailed this season. Last season it was a case of whichever scrummie started was “useless” and the one off the bench was brilliant. πŸ™‚

  • Comment 17, posted at 27.01.14 12:12:40 by gregkaos Reply
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  • Rob, how can you give someone 5 for just pitching for the game?

  • Comment 18, posted at 27.01.14 12:12:45 by Uli Boelie Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • @robdylan (Comment 16) : OK maybe I just noticed it now because his socks were up. 😈

  • Comment 19, posted at 27.01.14 12:13:40 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 17) : No no, I think you have it all wrong. Only one of them are totally crap.

  • Comment 20, posted at 27.01.14 12:14:15 by Uli Boelie Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • @robdylan (Comment 16) : Did you manage to get your interview with Jake White?

  • Comment 21, posted at 27.01.14 12:15:16 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 19) : πŸ˜€

  • Comment 22, posted at 27.01.14 12:15:48 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Pokkel (Comment 21) : it’s up

  • Comment 23, posted at 27.01.14 12:22:14 by robdylan Reply
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  • was extremely disappointed with Reinach, but having him on the edges has defintitely upped McCleods game for sure

  • Comment 24, posted at 27.01.14 12:41:23 by Dunx Reply

  • @gregkaos (Comment 17) : Cobus does brilliant things in open play with ball in hand, people tend to look at this aspect of his game and sing his praises rather than his core responsibility. If you remember, his kicks from the ruck were charged down twice by the Bulls last year.

  • Comment 25, posted at 27.01.14 12:42:40 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • @gregkaos (Comment 17) : 😈 So true! I remember when only a handful of us defended McLeod! Cobus is an ace player. He must just remember the first rule of rugby, one that he has heard countless times before: Pass die f**ken ball!! We are fortunate to have the best 2 scrummies in the business and soon Cobus will be back to form and scoring pure gems. He tried too hard to impress on Saturday.
    I like Tim. He is sure to have us lamenting his game this season. Great to have a couple of good back-up players in the 10, 12 and 13 positions.
    Well done to Tera! Great game.
    Overall very pleasing!!! 😈

  • Comment 26, posted at 27.01.14 12:50:11 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • @Uli Boelie (Comment 20) : Not sure I understand what you mean. If you are referring to Cobus been “totally crap” last season then I completely disagree. Both players got an equal amount of praise and criticism which almost always corresponded with whoever started or came off the bench.

  • Comment 27, posted at 27.01.14 12:52:41 by gregkaos Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 27) : The praise and hatred is easily explained as both McCloed and Reinach are very similar. When they keep things simple and clear from the base of rucks and scrums and make the odd snipe they play very well BUT when they pick up from the base and try be play maker etc they both look absolute shite. So thats the reason for the love/hate from supporters.

  • Comment 28, posted at 27.01.14 13:03:15 by SheldonK Reply

  • @KILLER SHARK (Comment 26) : Yeah good point. Did seem like he tried to force some magic. Anyway not too concerned about his performance. Not his best but then it is a warm up game which exists to shake off the rust.

  • Comment 29, posted at 27.01.14 13:11:08 by gregkaos Reply
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  • Great article, Rob!

  • Comment 30, posted at 27.01.14 13:11:18 by [email protected] Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 28) : @gregkaos (Comment 29) : I suspect Cobus was tasked with taking some of the pressure off Swiel in the first half and it’s probably not suited to his style of play.

  • Comment 31, posted at 27.01.14 13:24:18 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @[email protected] (Comment 30) : thank you!

  • Comment 32, posted at 27.01.14 13:28:43 by robdylan Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 31) : You could be right, but in the end they both just looked uncomfortable that way

  • Comment 33, posted at 27.01.14 13:32:24 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 33) : the commentators said something very instructive in the second half, along the lines of “Reinach looks like he’s caught in between trying to play two different games…. not getting the ball away quickly, but also not adding enough when he keeps the ball in hand”

  • Comment 34, posted at 27.01.14 13:37:03 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 34) : Yeh i do remember that comment. Personally i believe that a scrumhalf should get the ball to his flyhalf as soon as possible especially if the flyhalf is a play maker. If, however, the scrumhalf is going to pick up and challenge the line then his forwards and backs need to stand a lot deeper and run angles onto the ball because if they are flat then well you saw the hit on Deysel. If he is challenging the line he also needs his backline deeper so that if the forwards are too flat he can play his backline deeper. Cobus just seemed to crap across field at not any great pace and not too sure who he was looking to offload to hence he looked kak!

  • Comment 35, posted at 27.01.14 13:47:55 by SheldonK Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 16) : Rob, and you know this how?

  • Comment 36, posted at 27.01.14 13:49:25 by Bump Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 31) :
    That was my take too.

    Not good best game, but it seems many are not even considering the dynamic of having to ease in a true greenhorn.

    I was quite happy with the performance in general.

  • Comment 37, posted at 27.01.14 14:14:33 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Bump (Comment 36) : πŸ˜›

    I’ve seen pictures πŸ™‚

  • Comment 38, posted at 27.01.14 14:25:26 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 38) : πŸ˜†

  • Comment 39, posted at 27.01.14 14:30:57 by Bump Reply

  • @gregkaos (Comment 27) : He has always been average to below average, he has never even had a good pass, and always slow as a prob to the rucks to get the balls out. Now can you explain to me how this makes him any good?

  • Comment 40, posted at 27.01.14 15:52:10 by Uli Boelie Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • @Uli Boelie (Comment 40) : I agree that’s why I call him ‘late and maybe’ and that’s to the breakdown,always late and maybe he arrives.he has become clueless,Sharks need to replace him

  • Comment 41, posted at 27.01.14 16:14:57 by benji Reply
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  • @Uli Boelie (Comment 40) : I don’t believe that he is an avg player (or below for that matter) nor do I think he is slow to breakdown/poor passer. Not saying that that he’s got a perfect record but who has? The great FdP has bad days too. Just put things into perspective… Charl is one of my favourite players who I do rate above Cobus, however there were plenty of games when Cobus out performed him in the CC. Most notably when Cobus played off the bench.

    Here’s the SW ratings said of Cobus when he’s played off the bench in the CC. I really can’t be bothered with going through all of them.

    vs Kwas
    20. Cobus Reinach. Cobus injected real pace and urgency when he came on, in an error-free display that should set the tone for the season to come for him.

    vs Cheetahs
    20. Cobus Reinach. A really top performance; Cobus turned the game with his pace and eye for the tiniest of gaps

    vs Kwas
    20) Cobus Reinach. On balance, performed just slightly better than McLeod. Also made mistakes, but brought a greater sense of urgency and also kept the defence guessing that little bit more.

    vs Cheetahs
    20) Cobus Reinach. A great cameo from one of the quickest (and quickest-witted) players in the Currie Cup.

    vs Lions
    20. Cobus Reinach. Looked a little sloppy at times, but you can’t fault the moment of individual magic that sealed the result.

    vs Cheetahs – Semi Final
    20. Cobus Reinach. Added good urgency and kept the error rate down. A good showing.

  • Comment 42, posted at 27.01.14 16:28:15 by gregkaos Reply
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