The Sharks came away deserved victors after an enthralling match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, where both sides played with great attacking intent.
The visitors may have came away 47-30 victors, but the scoreline is not a fair reflection of the competitiveness of the Cheetahs who were in the fight until the very last moments of the game.
Matchflow: It was the home side that struck the first blow through a try by wing Rosko Specman in the opening 10 minutes. The Cheetahs looked to be in control before captain Ruan Pienaar was yellow-carded for uncharacteristic cynical foul play.
The 14-man Cheetahs did well to initially withstand a Sharks barrage, but ultimately the visitors struck back through an opportunistic Werner Kok try.
It was Kok’s try that sparked his side into life and they scored twice more in the first half. First, through Grant Williams who rounded off a superb Marnus Potgieter break, and then again through Anthony Volmink. When the half-time siren went, the Sharks were comfortably 11-24 ahead.
The Cheetahs looked to up the intensity in the second half and struck back with a try of their own to Brandon Thomson. The former Glasgow Warrior looked assured all match in the No 10 jersey, a seemingly good signing by the Cheetahs.
Another try by Cheetahs wing Duncan Saal narrowed the Sharks’ points margin to only four, but the men from Durban responded through Grant Williams’ second try of the match.
In the final quarter, the Cheetahs struggled to get mainline ascendency and came unstuck at the lineout under intense pressure from the Sharks. Rosko Specman scored stunning individual try, scything through the defensive line and running 60 metres to dot down, but even that moment of magic was not enough to lift the Cheetahs.
The Sharks’ slow poison eventually took its toll and they started to capitalise through penalties off the boot of Curwin Bosch and a try off the back of a rolling maul by hooker Kerron van Vuuren.
There was some feeling in the match with scuffles breaking out in the closing moments as neither side was willing to take a step back. Ultimately, though, it was the Sharks who deservedly won 47-30 after a composed and accurate performance.