The Free State XV came from behind to beat the Sharks XV 19-13, while Western Province and Griquas also won in round six of the Currie Cup qualifiers on Saturday.
The Sharks came into this clash on a two-match winning streak, but have now suffered three defeats in five games. The Cheetahs have the same record.
A converted try by left wing Maphuta Dolo five minutes before the break put the hosts 7-3 up, but the Sharks struck back on the hooter via a try by outside centre Nkululeko Marwana to snatch a one-point lead.
Marwana went from hero to villain when he was yellow-carded just three minutes into the second half. And the Cheetahs exploited the Sharks’ handicap when right wing Jean-Pierre Coetzee raced away for a try to hand his team what proved to be an unassailable lead.
No sooner had the Sharks returned to their full complement than Coetzee cut them apart again to complete his brace.
Flyhalf Sias Ebersohn scored the last converted try to make the score 19-8 in favour of the hosts. And although the Sharks hit back from the restart with a try, it wasn’t enough as stern Cheetahs defence in the last 15 minutes kept them at bay.
Elsewhere, Western Province ran in eight tries in their 50-10 demolition of the EP Kings. Flyhalf Scott van Breda was WP’s star player with a personal tally of 18 points via two tries and four conversions.
In the only other match, Griquas annihilated Namibia’s Welwitchias 55-25 to keep their perfect record intact. Griquas ran in eight tries, with scrumhalf Tiaan Dorfling and wing AJ Coertzen each bagging a brace. The Welwitchias did grab four tries to come away with a losing bonus point.
Free State XV (19) – Tries: Maphuto Dolo, Jean-Pierre Coetzee (2). Conversions: Sias Ebersohn (2).
Sharks XV (13) – Tries: Nkululeko Marwana, Sandile Kubeka. Penalty: Tristan Tedder.
Western Province (50) – Tries: Daniel du Plessis, Devon Williams, Frans van Wyk, Justin Phillips, Luke Stringer, Michael Willemse, Scott van Breda (2). Conversions: Van Breda (4), Grant Hermanus.
EP Kings (10) – Try: Andile Jho. Conversion: Garrick Mattheus. Penalty: Mattheus.
Welwitchias (25) – Tries: Francois Wiese, JC Winkler, Justin Nel, Philip Nashikaku. Conversion: Nel. Penalty: Heinrich Smit.
Griquas (55) – Tries: Tiaan Dorfling (2), AJ Coertzen (2), André Swarts, JW Jonker, Stephan Kotze, Thabo Mahuza. Conversions: Gouws Prinsloo (6). Penalty: Prinsloo.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images