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Loftus player ratings

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 2 Mar 2015 at 13:20
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

This is a toughie, folks. The Sharks played pretty well in patches at Loftus – in fact, probably well enough to have won had they taken all their opportunities.

They didn’t win, though and while there’s rightly a lot of anger being directed at the match officials, the team would be doing themselves – and their fans – a disservice if they didn’t take a hard look at themselves and some of their own actions during the game.

In that spirit, let’s try to do something of a fair analysis of the team, without being unnecessarily harsh, but also, without ignoring any of the issues that we saw.

The stand outs

A few players really stood up for me, and non more so than Pieter-Steph du Toit. Apart from a line-out wobble or two, the young man was truly immense and while opposite number Victor Matfield may have enjoyed some supremacy in one area, Steph completely eclipsed him in all others. Apart from the amazing defensive exploits of Bulls man Lappies Labuschagne, I’d say du Toit was the most impressive forward on the field.

The others who were, for me, really good, were Renaldo Bothma, who continues to show what a wonderful player he is, Pat Lambie and SP Marais. SP has come in for a lot of criticism but, to me, really stood up and showed his detractors the middle finger at Loftus. Pat was guilty of one or two passages of hasty play, in no small part caused by the poor ball he received, but was otherwise the composite match-winner (or almost match-winner) and his 25 points, including no missed kicks, were worthy of a high rating all on their own.

Above average

The bulk of the team put in pretty decent performances on the day – we’ll call out Marcell Coetzee and Ryan Kankowski, both of whom were good amongst the forwards. Coetzee was perhaps just 5% off his game on the day, which makes a big difference to the team since he’s such a vital player. Pinged unfairly a few times early on, you could see that the referee started to get to him and he did let his own discipline slip a little. Maturity will come and he’ll do better the next time he’s in such a situation.

Odwa Ndungane, to me, was the back most worthy of praise, since he was involved in so much of what was good for the Sharks (unfortunate knock on aside).

Improvement needed

There are a few players from whom I would like to see improvement next week. Bismarck du Plessis, I feel, didn’t do his reputation justice and needs to look in the mirror this week. The team needs their captain to be the strong one in the face of provocation, not be the first to lose his cool and start swinging. Cobus Reinach is another who just needs to spend a little more time fine-tuning some of his technique; we saw what an asset he is when he scored a beautiful solo try at a time when all seemed lost, but then again so much of the good play from the Bulls seemed to start with a misdirected clearance kick from the Sharks scrumhalf. Lwazi Mvovo and Waylon Murray are two players who really didn’t get into the game in a meaningful way, which is also not good enough given their experience.

The rest

I don’t want to be too harsh on Giant Mtayanda or Andre Esterhuizen, both in the fledgling stages of their Super Rugby careers. Both disappeared on the day, which was disappointing, but both will learn and return stronger players. Dale Chadwick and Jannie du Plessis will argue that the lack of scrums essentially removed them as a factor, but while I’m sure they were working hard in the tight, we’ll look for a little more impact from both next week.


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