Sharks player ratings v Western Province

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 13 Oct 2014 at 13:32
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Sharks started with a bang, which quickly faded to a rather lame whimper on Saturday, before again finding their mojo and grinding out a relatively convincing win over a rather weak Western Province side.

The team overall
In a funny way, I feel that S’bura Sithole’s try within the first minute of the game actually worked against the Sharks, rather than in their favour. I’m sure they had a good plan going into the fixture, but with each centre in turn making huge yards through virtually non-existent defence within the opening three minutes of the game, you could perhaps understand if the players suddenly changed gear mentally and started to believe that a big, easy win was to be a foregone conclusion. Certainly they became far too loose far too soon and were duly punished by a Province side that, while rather green, was certainly not too inexperienced to profit from stupid chip kicks, atrocious breakdown applications and lacklustre defence on the part of their guests. There was a period when you sensed Sharks heads were dropping, but to their credit, they turned around and delivered nigh on 50 minutes of very sensible rugby, even though errors continued to hamper progress. Perhaps more importantly, the Sharks played the sort of game that will be needed in a tight semi-final and did so well enough to suggest some measure of hope for the coming weekend.

I’d rate the team performance as mostly good, once they’d stopped playing silly buggers in the first half.

The stand outs
Were there any individual match winners for the Sharks? I’d say no. I didn’t feel any player stood out quite enough to be called out for specific, glowing praise in this section. Better luck next week, boys.

Raising the tone
There were, to me, a fair few of the boys who put their hands up, perhaps not in terms of all-round game, but certainly enough to warrant special mention.
Monde Hadebe – Has a lovely pair of hands and really played a vital linking role, even if he does inevitably give away a bit of tight-phase grunt. It was his line-out throwing that was truly superb on the day, though.
Lourens Adriaanse – Good in the scrums and scored a cracking try.
Stephan Lewies – It was a good day for the locks, with Lewies doing some great things in broken play, but chiefly excelling on opposition throw at line-out time.
Marco Wentzel – A vintage performance from Planet Wentzel, who for a third week running masterminded the total destruction of an opposing team’s line-out. Gets around the park a fair bit too, for an old timer.
Tera Mtembu – Growing in stature as a leader and a player, was key to the turnaround in fortunes, as he started to take control and make progress over the advantage line.
Conrad Hoffmann – we’re hard on him when he doesn’t get it quite right. This week, the difference he made was palpable.
S’bura Sithole – tackles and tackles and tackles and was very good with the ball, resisting the urge to go to ground more often than in the past.

Holding steady
The vast majority of the team earn a pass mark – in fact, too many for me to call out individually. The general tone, though, was one of a rather poor first half, followed by a much better performance in the second. Lionel Cronje and SP Marais are two players who in particular, came very close to earning negative ratings after the opening half hour, but both, I’m glad to say, recovered well enough in the second period to earn an average score. Franco Marais made a few mistakes just after coming on but also put in some good work once he settled.

I’d like to specifically talk about Andre Esterhuizen, who I felt did some very, very good things, along with some rather poor ones. He tends to drop passes at absolutely crucial times, which is a worry, but the amount of go-forward he provides, as well as dominance in the midfield defensive line, simply cannot be overvalued.

Improvements needed
There weren’t too many players who I felt did their reputations harm, but we probably need to mention a name or two here.
Matt Stevens was borderline. We were looking for a really dominant performance against a rookie loosehead, which I didn’t feel we got. He also didn’t contribute too much in other areas.
Cobus Reinach – we know he’s better than what we saw, period, so I’m not really worried. He must be pretty rusty and will definitely look better next week.
Tonderai Chavhanga – the thoroughbred looked like a donkey, but again we need to acknowledge that he’s not played for a few weeks. We know what he can do, so let’s back him to do it properly this weekend.


  • It does not help that Esterhuizen received the odd unsympathetic pass.

    Mtembu is such a under rated player, he has Bok written all over him.

  • Comment 1, posted at 13.10.14 13:43:29 by Saffex Reply
  • Whole team for me had their moments of shit and then good, And I also feel that some passes to Esterhuizen were shockers, but yeah he does need to hold onto some.

  • Comment 2, posted at 13.10.14 13:47:41 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • We are going to need a full 80 minutes if we want tot beat the lions. All things considered, even if we loose on Saturday, I don’t think it was too bad a campaign from the guys

  • Comment 3, posted at 13.10.14 13:54:35 by HeinF Reply

  • Overall id give the side a 5 out of 10 as they were pretty horrible in the first half but kept WP scoreless in 2nd half and looked much more composed. We still leak too many soft tries which is a concern especially with the tougher opposition ahead. Scrums were better this week.

  • Comment 4, posted at 13.10.14 13:54:46 by SheldonK Reply

  • Another player who after such a good start in the S15 seems to be fading a bit is young Thomas du Toit.

    I have to compliment Hoffmann after being such a critic – very good performance when he came on.

  • Comment 5, posted at 13.10.14 13:56:13 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Toekie must be really worried at how the Sharks dismantled his lineout. If I am not mistaken, WP don’t really have any other locks left in their A team?

  • Comment 6, posted at 13.10.14 13:59:41 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 6) : Doubt he would be overly concerned. Grobler hasn’t played rugby for some months and Jurie van Vuuren isnt exactly the next Matflied.

    Jean Kleyn should be fit to play this weekend so number is sorted and then Carizza can start at 5.

  • Comment 7, posted at 13.10.14 14:13:32 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 7) : Oh OK. Kleyn’s injury was reported as season ending – along with Ruan Botha’s.

  • Comment 8, posted at 13.10.14 14:18:25 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Apart from some rather poor to horrible passes, I do feel that our handling let us down during the game. We were handed a good few opportunities to score (will refrain from mentioning the obvious one!) if the final pass just went to hand. We need to sort them out as I doubt the Lions will be as generous.. 😐

  • Comment 9, posted at 13.10.14 14:25:34 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 8) : You’re right but about 2 weeks ago the story changed. I’m happy though because Elstadt is too fond of seeing yellow

  • Comment 10, posted at 13.10.14 14:27:37 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • I felt that our weakest link in the backline on the weekend was Cronje, especially in the first half, missed a sitter of a conversion, passing was crap, handling was crap, tactical kicking was crap, decision making was crap. he needs to get his act right quick, we all know he can do better than the utter shite he produced on saterday. i am also pretty sure that we will never see Tondie play so crap again, ever, he is way too much of a professional and a special player to repeat that showing. Before the game I was afraid the Sharks might produce a showing like that, nothing to gain from the match, playing against a bunch of guys with no inhibitions and a point to prove.

  • Comment 11, posted at 13.10.14 14:31:57 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @KingRiaan (Comment 11) : Cronje was a lot better in the second half, didn’t you think?

  • Comment 12, posted at 13.10.14 14:38:20 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : Yes, he did play better in the second half, luckily. I still think he has talent and is a good player, but let’s hope that the team bus left that first half Lionel right there at Newlands. But I’m sure he will bounce back from that showing.

  • Comment 13, posted at 13.10.14 14:45:12 by KingRiaan Reply

  • Thanks, Rob for a most interesting read.
    Sorry no time to comment further.

  • Comment 14, posted at 13.10.14 15:04:46 by [email protected] Reply

  • Esterhuizen is a very young player,and will only get better,he does a lot more right than he does wrong.Put him next to Lambie,and you have the makings of a legendary career.
    Hoffman is a bit of an enigma,his touch kicking is fantastic,far better than Reinarch ,Cronje,Zeilinger and especially the woeful S.P.,but that is all he excels at.
    Cameron must start this week ,and Reinarch can play off the bench,he is great when he comes on as an impact player,he is an opportunistic player who excells in the later stage of the game when the forwards have run out of puff.

  • Comment 15, posted at 13.10.14 15:31:27 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The hound
  • Wow, Jacques Botes doesnt get a mention, an oversight I presume.

  • Comment 16, posted at 13.10.14 15:59:45 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 16) : I didn’t think he was especially good…. did I miss something?

  • Comment 17, posted at 13.10.14 16:12:09 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 17) : I think he would slot in with the “raising the tone bunch” quiete nicely.

  • Comment 18, posted at 13.10.14 16:17:50 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • For some reason the Sharks are too much of gentleman, we never (almost never) put a “small/weaker” team away(like with 50+ points. And that’s also the reason that somewhere in every season we loose to a minor team.. SR=Highlanders and Cheetahs, CC=Griekwas…

  • Comment 19, posted at 13.10.14 16:52:06 by Franshark Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 17) : think you’re spot on. Once they score an “easy” early try they tend to get loose and not play structured rugby and in the end they struggle to beat a “weak” team. I blame it on the “favourite” tag!!!! Luckily the Sharks will be the underdogs on Saturday after the powerfull super magnificent way that the all concurring super Lions defeated the Cheetahs. Did I mention that the Lions seems to be unbeatable this years?!?!?!?!

  • Comment 20, posted at 13.10.14 16:52:38 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • @Franshark (Comment 19) : Ummmmm Highlanders made the playoffs this year in SR, not sure how you can call a playoff team a minor team, although your point is good, not sure you can use the Highlanders loss as an example.

  • Comment 21, posted at 14.10.14 04:18:08 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • @Franshark (Comment 19) : @Dancing Bear (Comment 21) : yes that’s really concerning as these loses usually results in the Sharks having to tour for playoff games!!!!! Sharks just have a mental block when it comes to the “favourite tag”!!!!!!

  • Comment 22, posted at 14.10.14 09:40:59 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • Good read, Rob…oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY for the other day…may the year ahead be filled with trophies for all the right teams (at the very least the Sharks and the Boks!)…

  • Comment 23, posted at 14.10.14 14:22:13 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @pastorshark (Comment 23) : thanks buddy πŸ™‚

  • Comment 24, posted at 14.10.14 14:23:43 by robdylan Reply
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