What is wrong at Kings Park? It is a reasonable question after the second woeful performance by the Sharks in as many matches when they went down to the Reds on Friday.
The Reds won the match 21-14 after the Sharks, somewhat fortuitously if the match is viewed as a whole, got a bonus point three minutes from time for their below-average performance.
The Reds, not one of the leading sides in the Australian conference, thanks to this win now have four wins from nine matches this year. This was their first victory in Durban since 2004.
The Sharks controlled territory, had the best of the possession, missed 22 from 128 tackles (17%, more than the 27 missed from 175 tackles by the Reds, 15%), made more than 20 handling mistakes and conceded 18 turnovers. They were also out-scrummed on their own ball when it mattered in the last quarter.
Tackling was not a forte, and Samu Kerevi on particular with Chris Feauai-Sautia and Bryce Hegarty were allowed too much leeway and too many breaks.
The few chances created by the Sharks went astray and the performance can only described as lethargic and sloppy and below-par.
The defeat follows the drubbing of 51-17 by the Jaguares following an impressive 42-5 win against the Lions the previous week.
This will be a weekend of serious introspection and decisions for coach Robert du Preez about what the team should be for the upcoming tour which starts with a match against the Waratahs next Saturday, followed by Crusaders the following Friday and the Chiefs the weekend thereafter.
Sharks (7) 14: Tries: Kerron van Vuuren, Jean-Luc du Preez. Conversions: Rob du Preez, Curwin Bosch.
Reds (14) 21 Tries: Bryce Hegarty, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Tate McDermott. Conversions: Hegarty (2), Hamish Stewart.