Kobus van Wyk scored a last-gasp try to allow the Sharks to claim a 27-20 victory over the Cheetahs in Durban on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
With the win the Sharks rebounded from their shock loss to the Pumas last weekend and climbed above the Nelspruit-based team into fifth place on the table, one point below the Cheetahs.
The game was evenly contested, with the Sharks racing into the lead thanks to a penalty from Curwin Bosch and a try from Lwazi Mvovo, but they were reined in by the Cheetahs, who at a stage looked like they would at least get a deserved draw from the match.
The opposing scrumhalves were both at the heart of their respective team’s play as Sanele Nohamba shone on his first Currie Cup start for the Sharks, while Tian Meyer caused havoc with a number of well-weighted passes.
There will be a slight concern over the fitness of Bosch, who slotted 10 of his side’s points with the boot, after the flyhalf limped off after picking up a knock in the second half.
Tries from Joseph Dweba and Benhard Janse van Rensburg, both set up by Meyer, gave the Cheetahs a 12-10 lead, but Aphelele Fassi pounced on an error and ran from his own 22 to put the Sharks 17-12 up at the break.
The Sharks looked to have extended their lead when a break started by excellent combination play between Bosch and Jeremy Ward was finished off by Tera Mtembu. However, the try was chalked off and an angered Craig Burden was yellow-carded for a shoulder charge at an earlier ruck.
Fouche narrowed the gap to two points with a penalty, but Bosch, carrying a knock, managed to knock over a drop goal for the Sharks’ first points of the second half. The scores were levelled with 10 minutes to go when Fassi shot out of line to go for the intercept but missed the ball, allowing Carel-Jan Coetzee a free run at the line.
While the Sharks were under pressure in the closing stages, they managed to work their way upfield after good work from Mvovo and Fassi took them close to the tryline. From there the ball was spread wide to Van Wyk to canter in near the corner.
Sharks – Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, Aphelele Fassi, Kobus van Wyk. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2), Rhyno Smith. Penalties: Bosch. Drop goal: Bosch.
FS Cheetahs – Tries: Joseph Dweba, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Carel-Jan Coetzee. Conversions: Louis Fouche. Penalty: Fouche.
Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jeremy Ward (c-c), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Tera Mtembu (c-c), 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Phendulani Buthelezi, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Mzamo Majola.
Subs: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Evan Roos, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Rhyno Smith.
FS Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Carel-Jan Coetzee, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Dries Swanepoel, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Louis Fouche, 9 Tian Meyer (c), 8 Henco Venter, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Charles Marais.
Subs: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Reinach Venter, 19 Walt Steenkamp, 20 Gerhard Olivier, 21 Jasper Wiese, 22 Dian Badenhorst/Tapiwa Mafura, 23 Ruan Pienaar.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images