The Sharks became the first team to win in Argentina in Super Rugby this season when they got the better of the Jaguares. The reverse fixture at Kings Park earlier this season had been a tight one, and given the disastrous performance that the Sharks produced at home against the Rebels (9-9 draw that would be a sure contender for one of THE worst games in SR history), few expected them to brave the odds and win in Buenos Aires.
However, it’s become a bit of a habit for the Sharks to buck the trend in recent times- they play well against top class opposition and make a hash of games against easier teams. And that’s what precisely happened in Argentina. The Sharks were aided by some changes by coach Rob du Preez to the starting XI- starting prop Thomas du Toit had a stormer of a game (MOTM in our opinion) and veteran Michael Claassens had a better game than Cobus Reinach, whose mind unfortunately already seems to be in England
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Sharks. The team struggled when Claassens was yellow carded in the first half- it appeared that they hadn’t prepared for that eventuality. Full back Rhyno Smith took over at 9 but the delivery was slow and laborious- and there were elemental mistakes- for a ball that was taken back into the 22 (Smith pass), Bosch kicked it on the full.
Bosch is a great talent, but it is too early to be talking of Bok honours for him. His defence is very much a work in progress as is his ability under the high ball- both exposed by Jaguares full back Tuqulet. The Sharks normally employ Reinach as their man under the high ball, but on that occasion, it was left to Bosch to claim the up and under.
Along with Reinach, the wing pair of Mvovo and Ndungane didn’t quite have the impact they should have had.
Former Baby Bok captain Jeremy Ward had his first start at 12 in the absence of the suspended Andre Esterhuizen. Ward made 18 tackles and had a pretty decent outing- he’s got a few weeks to develop that combination with the very talented Lukhanyo Am.
Etienne Oosthuizen had a good game too- his maul defence is fantastic and he is great at the breakdown. Will surely be in line for Bok honours if he can improve his discipline- Ruan Botha and he have fallen guilty of the new high tackle laws way too many times this season for coach Rob du Preez’s liking.