Resurgent Sharks overhaul Cheetahs

Sat, 14 Jul 2012 16:46
Large jp pietersen v cheetahs630

The Sharks scored 28 unanswered second-half points to beat the Cheetahs 34-15 in Durban and secure a Super Rugby play-off spot.

The Sharks scored 28 unanswered second-half points to beat the Cheetahs 34-15 in Durban and secure a Super Rugby play-off spot.

The bonus-point victory puts the Sharks in fifth place on the overall standings, which means that they will travel away for their play-off next week, although their opponents will be determined by the outcome of the clash between the Bulls and the Lions at Loftus Versfeld.

In this round there were two matches which each had really only one worthwhile half- the first half when the Crusaders played the Force and the second half when the Sharks played the Cheetahs, and then not the whole of the second half.

The first half at Kings Park started off scruffy, redolent of that match in Johannesburg when the uninterested Sharks dawdled to defeat. That's how it looked in Durban on Saturday evening after the rain. Changes to the team and a change to the attitude produced a second half that scored more points than were needed to get into the 'quarterfinal' play-off, what the French call the barrages.

The first move was a change in playing personnel, bringing on first Willem Alberts and then Bismarck du Plessis, both in the first half. Suddenly the Sharks had some thrust. But by half-time they were losing 15-6 - five kicks to two kicks. Frédéric Michalak kicked one and Riaan Smit kicked three. Michalak kicked another one and Smit another two.

Smit's second penalty goal was for a tip tackle by Frans Steyn which earned him 10 minutes in the sin bin and a likely interview with a disciplinary committee.

It was 12-6 when Alberts came on and started charging. Soon afterwards the Sharks looked likely to score a try but Lambie could not grab a bouncing ball from Frans Steyn.

One big change was not John Plumtree's doing. Heinrich Brüssow did not come back in the second half. He stayed off with an icepack on his knee. This may have been the most significant change of the match because, as it his wont, Brüssow controlled the breakdowns in the first half and the Cheetahs enjoyed a majority of possession. In the second half 80% of the possession belonged to the Sharks, for the Cheetahs had nobody like a Brüssow to steal for them.

The change for the Sharks that did not work was shunting Jannie du Plessis across to the loosehead where WP Nel dominated him and the Springbok tighthead was penalised twice.

The Sharks started the second half picking and driving. JP Pietersen lost the ball at the line and then they went with short, quick passes till Keegan Daniel threw a dummy and accelerated inside first Robert Ebersohn and thenoutside  Willie le Roux to score. 15-13 after 44 minutes.

It was all Sharks now.

Lwazi Mvovo was over but there had been a forward pass. Louis Ludik broke and Steyn was close. Then came a startling break from Pietersen. He cut in at an angle past three Cheetahs before, right-footed, he kicked right off the outside of his boot and Charl McLeod scored. There were queries about a knock-on but the match officials believed it was off a knee and, bless them, they did not guess. 20-15 after 57 minutes. The Sharks now had the points' difference to take them above the Brumbies.

Michalak kicked an up-and-under. Pietersen went after it, leapt with effortless ease and caught the ball. The Sharks went right and Marcell Coetzee skated past Andries Strauss to score at the posts. 27-15 after 60 minutes.

For the last try Steyn won a turnover and gave to Bismarck du Plessis. With great vision the hooker threw a perfect overhead pass to Tim Whitehead,  who played inside to Ryan Kankowski about 38 metres out. He ran on a diagonal straight to the posts for the try. 34-15 after 73 minutes. That was a bonus-point try.

Man of the Match: Sadly Heinrich Brüssow played for only 40 minutes. Bismarck du Plessis and Willem Alberts, who changed the course of the match, also played for only part. Neat, effective, committed Freddy Michalak played for all the match but the player who was there for nearly all the match and made a huge difference is our Man of the Match - JP Pietersen.

The scorers:

For the Sharks:
Tries: Daniel, McLeod, Coetzee, Kankowski
Cons: Michalak 4
Pens: Michalak 2

For the Cheetahs:
Pens: Smit 5

Yellow card: Frans Steyn (Dangerous tackle)


Sharks: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Paul Jordaan, 22 Louis Ludik.

Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Barry Geel, 11 Philip Snyman, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Ashley Johnson, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Andries Strauss.

Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker, Reuben Rossouw
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee

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Fri, 27 May 2016
Hurricanes v Highlanders 07h35 Wellington
Waratahs v Chiefs 09h40 Sydney
Boland v Eagles 13h00 Wellington
Free State Cheetahs v Pumas 13h00 Bloemfontein
Kings v Jaguares 17h00 Ascoli Piceno
Border v Falcons 17h00 East London
Sat, 28 May 2016
Blues v Crusaders 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Sunwolves 09h40 Canberra
Western Province v Griquas 10h15 Newlands
Blue Bulls v Leopards 12h15 Loftus Versfeld
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h00 DHL Newlands
Namibia v Griffons 13h00 Windhoek
Golden Lions v EP Kings 13h00 Johannesburg
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 14h00 London
Bulls v Lions 15h05 Loftus Versfeld
Leinster v Connacht 16h30 Edinburgh
Sun, 29 May 2016
Rebels v Force 06h05 Melbourne
England v Wales 14h00 London
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 11 6 0 5 30
Brumbies 11 7 0 4 29
Rebels 10 5 0 5 23
Reds 13 3 1 9 16
Force 11 2 0 9 11
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 42
Crusaders 11 9 0 2 41
Highlanders 11 8 0 3 37
Hurricanes 11 7 0 4 36
Blues 11 6 1 4 29
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Bulls 11 7 1 3 32
Stormers 11 6 1 4 32
Cheetahs 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 11 1 1 9 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 11 8 0 3 37
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 11 2 0 9 13
Kings 11 1 0 10 4