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Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 23 Feb 2015 at 10:32
Tagged with : , , , ,

What an amazing turnaround from the Sharks, after a lame showing against the Cheetahs in Round 1. Saturday’s 29-12 bonus point win against the Lions was as satisfying as it was surprising, especially given the way it came about – and the treacherous conditions.

The team overall

One of the very best Sharks team performances we’ve seen in recent times, I’d say. The pack was ferocious, the backs dogged and committed, despite a serious lack of opportunity to show off their skills. It’s a really nice problem to have, this week, to try and identify individual stand-out performances, simply due to the sheer number of incredible efforts on display. Those looking for doom and gloom – or nit picking – aren’t going to find it from me this week, given just how well all 23 men bounced back.

The match winners

Forgive me for being sentimental, but I’m going to go with the old firm here, the directors and architects, the leaders. Bismarck du Plessis and Pat Lambie stood marginally ahead of a supporting cast of millions in order to emerge as the most valuable players on the day – and that’s simple because of the impact they have on those around them. The fact that each also convincingly won the individual contest against their direct opposition also helps. Well done men, keep it up.

Better than flipping good

A number of forwards, particularly, come strongly to the fore here. Jannie du Plessis and Dale Chadwick stood up marvelously and out scrummed a team that was meant to have the clear upper hand at this phase. Thomas du Toit came on and turned the screws at a vital time – impressive given that he’s not played competitive rugby in a few months. Pieter-Steph du Toit‘s work rate and lineout efforts were exemplary as always, and how good was Giant Mtayanda on debut? While we’re on the topic of Energiser bunny-like work, you have to acknowledge the loose trio as well, with Marcell Coetzee and Renaldo Bothma both ever present. Of the backs, Lwazi Mvovo, as always, was a clear and present danger.

The honourable mentions

Tera Mtembu bubbled under and did a lot of good things, particularly on defence. Heimar Williams had few opportunities, but tackled well, while Waylon Murray had a few individual moments that made us smile. Odwa Ndungane was solid and reliable, as we’ve come to expect, and also scored a cracking try for which he can thank Lambie.

There were some errors, of course and both Cobus Reinach and SP Marais would probably feature in a different category were it not for these. Both were defensively sound and dangerous on attack; however both were guilty of a few misdirected kicks from hand and will look to improve on this aspect particularly against the Bulls. I guess it all comes down to composure and consistency; major credit to both players, though, for picking their heads up and contributing even after making a mistake.

On the positive side, Reinach’s try was simply breathtaking, while SP’s defensive work when Lionel Mapoe looked certain score was a match-turning moment.



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