Player ratings: Too much talk; too little action
OPINION: The Sharks let a 10-point lead slip to suffer a heart-breaking 19-26 loss to the Bulls in the Currie Cup Final at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The visitors held a 13-9 lead at the half-time break and had a 19-9 advantage with 20 minutes to go.
However, they saw the chance of a ninth title slip out of their grasp when the Bulls scored 10 unanswered points in the final quarter and then scored the winner with less than a minute remaining – after the game went into extra time.
It is a tale of missed opportunities and a game in which several Sharks players did more talking than playing.
The forwards did their jobs, but the backs let them down.
Jan de Koning rates the Sharks players!
15 Aphelele Fassi
A quiet day by his standard, but not the type of game in which he could express himself. Had a few runs with limited success and missed a couple of tackles.
14 Sibusiso Nkosi
Showed his finishing ability to score the opening try, but made a couple of crucial mistakes – including conceding a penalty. Solid under the high ball.
13 Lukhanyo Am (captain)
His game management was great, even though he rushed out of line at times on defence. Very few chances with ball in hand, but was rock solid on defence – making nine tackles.
12 Marius Louw
Not the type of game that suited his style. Quiet on attack and made just 70 percent of his tackles.
11 Yaw Penxe
Worked hard and good under the high ball, but made the odd silly error and missed several tackles.
10 Curwin Bosch
Had his moments, but not his best game. Not as accurate at goal, missing three first-half penalties. Then found his range and rhythm and lost it again. His decision-making and execution also lacked at times.
9 Jaden Hendrikse
Lots of accurate kicking from the base – the best part of his game. However, was very lippy, perhaps too much so, prompting a chirp from the referee: ‘You have a lot of advice for your first Currie Cup [Final].’ Later he got another lecture from the ref. Also made mistakes behind the scrum and his decision-making let him down at times. Perhaps he should have concentrated on his own game more.
8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe
Not flawless, but the most productive ball-carrying forward for the visitors. Showed some amazing skills, with the odd grubber, made a heap of tackles and even won a turnover.
7 Henco Venter
Slow start – conceding penalty – but improved his workrate after the break. Made all his tackles.
6 Dylan Richardson
Quiet first half, but really came into his own after the break. Made nine tackles and missed just two.
5 Ruben van Heerden
Discipline was an issue, with three crucial penalties conceded. His kick-receives on point and he made eight tackles.
4 Juan van der Mescht
His workrate was enormous, winning a crucial turnover. However, let his team down on defence on occasion.
3 Thomas du Toit
Stood his ground in early scrums, but then under pressure and retreating. Won three crucial turnovers in the second half and had a great workrate on defence.
2 Fezokuhle Mbatha
Was virtually anonymous throughout his stay on the field – other than at the set pieces.
1 Retshegofaditswe Nché
Monstered Trevor Nyakane in the early scrums and did some great work on the ground. His workrate was great, missed just one tackle and conceded a penalty.
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16 Dan Jooste
Brought some real energy, but struggled in the set-pieces – including a skew throw at line-out.
17 Mzamo Majola
Solid set pieces, but conceded a crucial penalty in extra time.
18 Michael Kumbirai
Made a handful of tackles, but otherwise no real impact.
19 Hyron Andrews
Made all his tackles and won a late turnover.
20 Thembelani Bholi
Brought some real energy in a late cameo – making all but one of his tackles and won a turnover.
21 Sanele Nohamba
Gave away a crucial penalty and otherwise no impact.
22 Jeremy Ward
Brought some calm and good decision-making in his cameo. Not enough time to make a real impact.
23 Manie Libbok
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Showed his experience by putting the players in their place with some great chirps and very sound explanations. Did an admirable job in a testing match and made the right calls.
Photo credit: speedshots.co.za