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Xerox Golden Lions 10 10 48
Vodacom Blue Bulls 10 8 39
DHL Western Province 10 7 35
Toyota Free State Cheetahs 10 3 24
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Sharks bounce back with Bloem bonus

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Cheetahs, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 14 Mar 2015 at 18:52
Tagged with : , , , , ,

The Sharks have taken a bonus point from a 27-10 victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein this evening.

After the week they’ve had, this win will be like manna from Heaven for the Sharks and their coaching staff; staring at a 1 from 4 record heading into the game, anything but a victory here would have been a disaster. Three first-half tries (in a period when the Sharks dominated every possible facet of play) made it clear that a defeat was unlikely, but that final try was an agonising half an hour in the making and the Sharks will bemoan some sloppy play in that second period, as they lost shape and composure for much of the half.

Pressure defence kept the Cheetahs on the back foot and making mistakes; Pat Lambie pulled the string beautifully to keep the pack moving forward and with Marcell Coztee, Renaldo Bothma and Pieter-Steph du Toit piling in with driving tackles every time a Cheetah tried to carry the ball, the Sharks played in the right parts of the field. Frans Steyn scored the opening try, with a pair of Marcell Coetzee scores off the back of lineout drives, within four minutes of each other, compounding the damage.

After that third score, though, things started to sour; first Pieter-Steph du Toit was stretchered off with a knee injury that all will be hoping and praying is not as serious as the one he suffered last year. SP Marais shanked a pair of clearances directly into touch within minutes of each other too and the half ended with the Cheetahs enjoying a rare period of territorial ascendancy.

A poor third quarter for the visitors coincided with the introduction of Heinrich Brussow, who made the hosts suddenly competitive at the tackle point, but with all of Bloemfontein seemingly already having one foot on the plane to New Zealand, coach Naka Drotske pulled his match winners off with a good 25 minutes to play. The Sharks took heart as it felt the Cheetahs had given up and with the likes of Marco Wentzel again setting the tone on defence, it was the visitors who put in a last big effort.

Jack Wilson, on as a late replacement for Marais, scored the bonus point try with ten minutes on the clock, after Coetzee had been denied his third some minutes earlier due to a a technical maul infringement. That final score was a beaut, with Lambie, Odwa Ndungane and JP Pietersen combining down the right hand side before a long pass from Lourens Adriaanse found Wentzel and then Wilson way over on the left.

Francois Venter scored a consolation try for the hosts just on full time, after Ryan Kankowski had been sin-binned for a rather marginal maul offence, but the Sharks were the winners on this day, from start to finish.

Cheetahs (10): Penalty Willie du Plessis. Try Francois Venter. Conversion Francois Brummer.
Shharks (27): Tries Francois Steyn, Marcell Coetzee (2), Jack Wilson. Conversions Pat Lambie (2). Penalty Lambie


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