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 below:
15. Aphelele Fassi – 5
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 – 6
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 – 7
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 – 5
Not the type of game that suited his style. Quiet on attack and made just 70 per cent of his tackles.
11. Yaw Penxe – 5
Worked hard and good under the high ball, but made the odd silly error and missed several tackles.
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10. Curwin Bosch – 4
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 – 4
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 – 7
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 – 6
Slow start – conceding penalty – but improved his workrate after the break. Made all his tackles.
6. Dylan Richardson – 6
Quiet first half, but really came into his own after the break. Made nine tackles and missed just two.
5. Ruben van Heerden – 6
Discipline was an issue, with three crucial penalties conceded. His kick-receives on point and he made eight tackles.
4. Juan van der Mescht – 5
His workrate was enormous, winning a crucial turnover. However, let his team down on defence on occasion.
3. Thomas du Toit – 7
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 – 5
Was virtually anonymous throughout his stay on the field – other than at the set pieces.
1. Retshegofaditswe Nché – 6
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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— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 30, 2021
16. Dan Jooste – 6
Brought some real energy, but struggled in the set-pieces – including a skew throw at line-out.
17. Mzamo Majola – 5
Solid set pieces, but conceded a crucial penalty in extra time.
18. Michael Kumbirai – 5
Made a handful of tackles, but otherwise no real impact.
19. Hyron Andrews – 6
Made all his tackles and won a late turnover.
20. Thembelani Bholi – 6
Brought some real energy in a late cameo – making all but one of his tackles and won a turnover.
21. Sanele Nohamba – 5
Gave away a crucial penalty and otherwise no impact.
22. Jeremy Ward – 6
Brought some calm and good decision-making in his cameo. Not enough time to make a real impact.
23. Manie Libbok – N/A
RECAP: Currie Cup Final: Sharks vs Bulls
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