JP Pietersen of the Sharks on the charge against the
Cheetahs in their Super 15 match at Free State Stadium in
Bloemfontein. (Photo by Johan Pretorius / Gallo
The Sharks have held off a late fightback from the
Cheetahs to record a thrilling 29-22 victory in their Super
Rugby encounter at the Free State Stadium.
The visitors appeared to be in control of the game midway
through the second half but two tries brought the Cheetahs
back into the contest and, although they could not force the
win, they did manage a losing bonus point.
The Sharks made the brighter start but it was the Cheetahs
who got the first score. After Johan Goosen had missed an
early penalty, an excellent rolling maul ended with number
eight Philip van der Walt going over in the corner.
From that point on the visitors began to take charge, their
loose forwards in particular dominating the breakdown area.
The pressure began to tell and the Sharks were handed a
succession of penalties, with Pat Lambie landing three in
The Sharks extended their advantage when Goosen's error in
knocking the ball into touch forced a lineout that was won by
the Durban-based side and Lwazi Mvovo found a gap to ghost
through for a try and give his team a 16-5 lead at halftime.
They extended that advantage with another try soon after the
restart. Good ball from the lineout set up a rolling maul
from five metres that ended with a try for Marcell Coetzee.
At that stage there looked only one likely winner, but the
Cheetahs sparked into life and scored a try to close the gap.
Van der Walt produced a brilliant off-load as the team took
the ball wide, with Pieter Labuschagne running in for the
Four minutes later the Cheetahs moved to within striking
distance. As they moved the ball wide again, Johann Sadie
spotted a gap between Tendai Mtawarira and Odwa Ndungane and
raced to the line to score.
The Sharks refused to panic and slowed the game down,
eventually winning a penalty in front of the posts that
The Cheetahs were relentless in attack in the closing stages
but the Sharks absorbed the pressure for what they will see
as an excellent away win.