Sharks leave it late to snatch win
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.