Sharks leave it late to snatch win

The Sunday Independent - - SPORT -

ele­men­tary er­rors with the try­line in front of them or were tack­led into touch by res­o­lute de­fend­ers.

The game started and ended in striking fash­ion for the Sharks. They were awarded a penalty try less than two min­utes into the game and then scored at the death af­ter be­ing be­hind for most of the game af­ter WP had played with as­sur­ance in the sec­ond quar­ter to go 17-7 up.

The teams traded blows in the ex­cit­ing first half, with nei­ther side es­tab­lish­ing com­plete as­cen­dancy, al­though the WP set scrum was on top. Both sets of half­backs dis­played pin-point ac­cu­racy with their kick-and-chase game, but kick­ers from both teams missed out on points.

The re­sult means the Sharks are look­ing pretty on the log given that three of their five wins have been on the road. They have beaten WP, the Bulls and the Lions away from home and they have an away fix­ture com­ing up against a Chee­tahs team that will be de­pleted as they turn to the Top 16.

The penalty try at the start of the match came when ref­eree Jaco Peyper pe­nalised Prov­ince for pulling down a driv­ing maul.

Damian Willemse put his team on the score­board with a penalty af­ter Sharks No 8 Tera Mtembu had rushed off­side af­ter an ex­cel­lent counter-at­tack from deep sparked by Dil­lyn Leyds and the ever damger­ous cen­tre Huw Jones scored a minute later af­ter an­other spark- ling count-at­tack from deep in the half.

As the first half pro­gressed, Willemse seemed in con­trol of pro­ceed­ings and his kick­ing for ter­ri­tory was pin-point. His team was tak­ing the game by the scruff of the neck af­ter that early set­back and there was a spec­tac­u­lar try by Jaco Coet­zee when he ram­paged through a se­ries of un­suc­cess­ful tack­les.

As the game hit the half an hour mark, the Sharks were even­tu­ally re­warded when hooker Franco Marais fin­ished off an at­tack that came from a strong surge by in-form wing Sbu Nkosi, and a penalty at­tempt by Radebe as half-time ap­proached slipped past the up­right to leave the home side in front at 17-14 at the break.

Early in the sec­ond half, Willemse ex­tended the lead when a per­fectly timed up and un­der re­sulted in Nkosi be­ing caught in pos­ses­sion by Se­abelo Se­natla and he was pe­nalised for not re­leas­ing.

There­after, WP went into their shells and were camped in their 22 for just about the last half an hour, hang­ing on to their 20-14 lead.

But the Sharks could not get the ball over the line, ei­ther be­cause of a fi­nal pass go­ing astray or stout de­fence. They had all the op­por­tu­ni­ties in the world to seal the re­sult and twice had play­ers lose the ball as they were in the process of ground­ing it on the line. But even­tu­ally, some­thing had to give, and Smith’s con­ver­sion de­servedly snatched the spoils for the Sharks. WING Sergeal Petersen scored a sen­sa­tional 81st-minute try to help the Chee­tahs reg­is­ter an­other win and break the Lions’ hearts in an ex­cit­ing Cur­rie Cup en­counter in Bloem­fontein yes­ter­day.

Be­fore Petersen scored in the last move of the game,the Lions had led 24-23 af­ter fight­ing back strongly in the sec­ond half. The de­feat left the Lions with one win from six matches, while the Chee­tahs stayed top of the log be­fore en­ter­ing the PRO14 com­pe­ti­tion this weekend.

In a game that only re­ally came to life in the sec­ond half, the Lions fought back from 7-13 down to lead 21-13 af­ter 50 min­utes. Re­place­ments Hacji­vah Day­i­mani and Aphiwe Dyan­tyi sparked the Lions into life af­ter a lack­lus­tre first pe­riod, Day­i­mani scor­ing a won­der­ful try on 47 min­utes af­ter some ex­cel­lent work by Dyan­tyi on the touch­line be­fore Fabian Booy­sen also crossed, this time Day­i­mani mak­ing the line-break.

But the Chee­tahs would not be out­done on home soil as they hit back in the last 11 min­utes with tries by Sevens spe­cial­ist Rosko Spec­man, in the 69th minute, and Petersen at the death.

It was a me­morable sec­ond 40 min­utes, with plenty of ex­cit­ing rugby as both teams looked to spread the ball.

Un­for­tu­nately, the Lions will rue a poor first half.They did, how­ever, open the scor­ing in­side three min­utes through lock An­dries Fer­reira.

The vis­i­tors dom­i­nated from the kickoff and af­ter tak­ing the ball through sev­eral phases, the big sec­ond-row for­ward pow­ered his way over the line.

Sadly, that was the only bit of joy for the Lions in the first 40 min­utes.

From the restart, the Chee­tahs hit back through flank Ger­hard Olivier, who charged down a Jaco van der Walt kick to col­lect the ball and score, and from then on it was all the home team. They dom­i­nated ev­ery facet of play, es­pe­cially the scrums, where Ara­nos Coet­zee gave Corne Fourie a tor­rid work­ing over.

But it was in a num­ber of ar­eas where the Lions did not come up to scratch.Their kick­ing out of hand was poor with sev­eral kicks go­ing di­rectly into touch, their pass­ing didn’t al­ways go to hand, and their dis­ci­pline was also poor at times.

Loose­head prop Fourie be­came the umpteenth Lions man to be sin-binned in the com­pe­ti­tion af­ter he charged into a ruck with­out us­ing his arms, but for­tu­nately his 10 min­utes out of the game didn’t cost his side.

As dis­ap­point­ing as the Lions were – they didn’t cre­ate one de­cent try-scor­ing chance since their try in the third minute – the Chee­tahs also didn’t make the most of all the ball and ter­ri­tory they en­joyed.

But two late first-half penal­ties by young fly­half Rob­bie Pet­zer en­sured the Chee­tahs de­servedly led 13-7 at the break.

It was a ding-dong sec­ond-half bat­tle that de­cided it and the Chee­tahs had the pa­tience to hang onto the ball and take it through phases be­fore Petersen broke the line to score the win­ner.

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