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Sharks player ratings v Cheetahs


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 15 Sep 2014 at 10:18
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Let’s have a look at the individual performances after the game against the Cheetahs, which unfortunately ended in a draw after a strong second-half fightback.

I’m going to do the ratings a little differently this week – let me know how you feel about the new system.

The team overall

Was it a really good performance this weekend? The result would suggest not really, but looking at match in context of just how bad the Sharks have been for most of this season, I’d say they actually played better in this game than they have in any other to date, despite only managing to draw. There was plenty of purpose and intent on attack – in short, the Sharks showed us, as fans, that they DO have a plan and seem to now know how they want to play. The rugby they want to dish up looks to be exciting and effective; they just need to implement it better and more consistently for 80 minutes. The overall effort, for me, earns a pass mark. While it was far from a classic performance, there was more good about it than bad.

The star performers

In this category, I would usually call out any player who really stood out head and shoulders above the rest and put in a truly game-changing performance. This week, the category is empty.

The overachievers

Players who, to me, performed better than average on the day and had, what I would loosely consider to be a “good game”, were:
Dale Chadwick – scrummed like a beast and was a threat at the breakdown
Kyle Cooper – super high work rate for 80 minutes, while coming into his own as a ball carrier. My best player on the day.
Lourens Adriaanse – This is the reason we contracted him – his ball skills and workrate, outside of the scrums, which were strong throughout.
Marco Wentzel – plugged away like a trojan all game long, while adding some lovely supporting touches in open play
Conrad Hoffmann – the turnaround in his game from the week before was simply marvelous. Good, quick service all day and far better execution when he did opt to kick

Performing to expectation

Here’s the group of players that did what was expected of them. It’s fine to be in this group, but you’d like to see players occasionally stick their heads up a little and make the group above.

Stephan Lewies – is his ongoing knee niggle preventing him from reaching his best form?
Jacques Botes – that extra yard of pace was his strength. Not seeing it this year.
Etienne Oosthuizen – on the cusp of the next group up, but for few penalties.
Tera Mtembu – growing as a captain and leader. Far better than last week.
S’bura Sithole – needs to work on ensuring continuity when he takes contact.
Tonderai Chavhanga – got no luck when it came to the passes directed at him.
Tim Swiel – exciting from the back, but some question marks on defence.

Also in this group are the subs we saw, Danie Mienie, Johan Meyer, Cameron Wright and SP Marais. Very nice to be able to include SP’s name here, after a poor start to the season he came back strongly.

Needing a bit of work

A few guys need to work on a few specific aspects in order to earn a pass mark. I’m going to spend most time on these ratings, so that you can follow my thinking.

Lionel Cronje – it seems harsh to have him in this group, given that he did so many good things to spark the backline. Individual errors, though, are the one aspect that we really need Lionel to focus on. His vision and decision-making were both really good and he got the backs away far better than we’ve seen Fred Zeilinga do this Currie Cup. Overcooked line kicks and some poor passes are what prevent him from quite earning that pass mark, but he showed enough to make me really quite positive about having him in the position. Let me say that, ironically (or unfairly), Lionel was far better than I thought he would be, but not quite accurate enough to really do the position justice this weekend. We are the Sharks. We have high standards when it comes to flyhalf play – or at least, we should have.
Andre Esterhuizen – Is it harsh to point out that a 20-year-old debutant needs to work on aspects of his game? I hope not. Andre did some things very well indeed, but did other things rather poorly and we need to be as lavish in our criticism as we are with our praise, in order to present a fair assessment. I liked the way he took the ball up strongly and presented it well when (eventually) brought to ground. He made two bad errors as receiver, though, one of which led directly to a try. He also was exposed a little on defence and conceded a few penalties through poor breakdown technique. I want to emphasise, though, that I thought there were plenty of positives about his performance and I would like to see him retain the jersey for the time being. Certainly looks far more natural at 12 than Paul Jordaan does.
Odwa Ndungane – I’m not really sure what to say about Odwa – he’s the sort of stalwart servant whose contributions you don’t ever want to slate, but I just didn’t feel like he was really “in the zone” this weekend. Odwa is enough of a seasoned professional not to need my advice, so all I’ll say is that I hope we see him back in his groove next week, because as our senior back, we need his leadership.



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