Let’s not sugar coat this 51-17 silencing of the lambs at Jonsson Kings Park. The Sharks were beyond dreadful in what has to rank as one of their most disappointing performances of the modern era.
All the more so because the week before they had flattered against the Lions only to deceive a week later. In deflating from heroes to zeros, on their home patch, this Sharks team appears to have shown its true colours and it will take a lot for their shocked supporters to believe in this lot again.
At least in the olden days of the Natal rugby team local newspapers could headline match reports "Brave Natal went down fighting" ....
What is so disturbing is that the talk all week in the Shark Tank was the need to back up the fine performance against the Lions with a similarly impressive showing in their next outing, yet they came out with their guns spiked. They did not fire a shot.
It was said among the players that after they had played for The Beast (and his milestone) at Ellis Park, they had to keep the emotion levels high and to that end winning at home was a prime motivation.
Well, today's disaster was their third defeat in five games at Jonsson Kings Park, and after this week’s home match against the Reds, the Sharks head for Sydney, Christchurch and Hamilton. On the evidence of yesterday, it could get ugly...
One major positive, one ray of sunshine through the gloom, was the second half shifting of Curwin Bosch to flyhalf, with the sadly out-of-form Rob du Preez benched.
Bosch should have been given a shot at flyhalf long ago but the coaching staff have hung onto Du Preez at 10 for grim life, to the detriment of the team. The thing is, they haven’t done Du Preez any favours by persisting with him when he is not on top of his game.
And Bosch is! Everyone has been talking about the difference Bosch can make to the Sharks’ attack and when he was picked against the Lions for his first start of the season he was instantly Man of the Match.
And when he moved to flyhalf in the 55th minute one of the first things he did was set up a try for Aphelele Fassi...
In the first half especially, the Sharks had no direction to their game, no impetus, no cohesion, no nothing ... Just loose, lateral maneuvering. It was agonising to watch a professional rugby team dithering around on a road to nowhere.
The Jaguares will never have it easier. They simply hovered about waiting for the inevitable mistakes and then struck decisively. They scored seven tries, many of them soft but all were well taken.
Sharks – Tries: Hyron Andrews, Aphelele Fassi. Conversions: Rob du Preez, Curwin Bosch. Penalty: Du Preez.
Jaguares – Tries: Tomas Cubelli, Pablo Matera (2), Matias Orlando (3), Matias Moroni. Conversions: Domingo Miotti (5). Penalties: Miotti (2).