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Currie Cup Log

Team Points
Premier Division
Xerox Golden Lions 10 10 48
Vodacom Blue Bulls 10 8 39
DHL Western Province 10 7 35
Toyota Free State Cheetahs 10 3 24
Cell C Sharks 10 4 22
Steval Pumas 10 3 17
Eastern Province Kings 10 2 12
ORC Griquas 10 1 8
Full log




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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
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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.


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