Sharks player ratings: Springboks front-row buries Gloucester as silky Siya Masuku bags 21 points on historic night

Dylan Coetzee
Sharks scrum v Gloucester.

Sharks scrum v Gloucester.

Following a 36-22 victory over Gloucester in the Challenge Cup final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Friday, here are the player ratings for the Sharks.

15 Aphelele Fassi: The full-back was yellow carded after a team warning in the first half but managed to get himself back in the game during the second period. He was on the end of a lovely move to score under the posts in spectacular fashion. 7

14 Werner Kok: The livewire did not get many opportunities to run with the ball but was constantly busy on the field, whether bolting back to cover the backfield or chasing high balls. A solid outing. 6

13 Ethan Hooker: Shifted to outside centre with aplomb. The young star worked his socks off in the final on both sides of the ball. In the carry, he made good metres while making nine tackles at 100% success. 7

12 Francois Venter: Not quite as busy as his centre understudy but still an accomplished performance where he executed all his fundamentals and made few mistakes in a respectable shift. 6

11 Makazole Mapimpi: Vintage from one of the greatest Sharks wings in history. He deserved the try he got from a cross-kick after working incredibly hard all game long. It is a fitting result for a player who has long committed to the union. 7

Springboks calling?

10 Siya Masuku: Just another blockbuster performance. The fly-half is the man for the big moments as he kicked 21 points and assisted two tries. Masuku had his hands in everything good from the Sharks and in doing so underlined his Test credentials. 9

9 Grant Williams: A very mature performance for a player who is mostly renowned for his rapid pace. Williams out-kicked his opposite number with some brilliant kicks from the base. Outside of that, he managed the tempo of the game so well while also picking good runners almost every time. 8

Planet Rugby player ratings key 10 - Career defining performance 9 - Outright blockbuster effort 8 - Significantly influenced the result of the game 7 - Committed and effective outing 6 - Flashes of brilliance outside of executing fundamentals 5 - Fulfilling the role required by position (base level) 4 - Poor execution of fundamentals 3 - Costly errors and/or discipline in the game 2 - Poor performance that directly impacted the result 1 - Grossly ineffective throughout 0 - Should have carried water instead

8 Phepsi Buthelezi: The number eight broke the game open with his stunning solo try, including one of the most outrageous dummies you will see. 8

7 Vincent Tshituka: Fairly quiet by his lofty standards but still a powerful performance on both defence and attack. He also made a key steal at the breakdown when Gloucester were starting to gather momentum. 6

6 James Venter: Probably the hardest worker in open play for the Sharks complete with a whopping 18 tackles (eight more than anyone else in his team). It was a proper openside performance and one that was vital in the Sharks maintaining their dominance. 8

Dominant front five

5 Gerbrandt Grobler: Neat throughout and always making an effort to drive players back in the tackle, robbing Gloucester of a lot of gainline success. Was solid in the line-out and on the whole a lovely foil for the world-class veteran beside him. 7

4 Eben Etzebeth: The legendary Springbok adds to his legacy with another title. He had an exceptional try-saver which may have been questionable from a legal standpoint. Still, he prevented the try. Meanwhile, in open play, the great second-row was brutally physical and made his presence known. If anyone wants to know why his nickname is the ‘enforcer’ they should rewatch this game. 9

3 Vincent Koch: The one everyone is waiting for. We were very tempted to give him full marks just for his 50:22 on its own, let alone the scrummaging performance where they absolutely monstered Gloucester. Penalty machine and a key driver of the tool that won the game for the Sharks. Simply brilliant. 9

2 Bongi Mbonambi: Class. It was one of those efforts from the hooker that clearly showed his calibre. Mbonambi was powerful when required with ball in hand while contributing heavily to the scrum and nailing his jumpers in the line-out. 8

1 Ox Nche: Cake must have been on the menu because, as he famously says, ‘salads don’t win scrums’ and this evening they got some purchase from the vast majority of scrums. Like Koch, Nche was a colossus and it is scary to think how good he can become over the next couple of years. 9

READ MORE: Sharks’ Springboks stars dominate as Durbanites overwhelm Gloucester to claim historic Challenge Cup title