Sharks sink Cheetahs

GARETH DUNCAN watched the Sharks fight back from a 21-6 half-time deficit to beat the Cheetahs 34-32 in Durban.

It was an unbelievable comeback from the Durban side.

After conceding two late tries in the first half, they trailed 21-6 at the break. The Cheetahs continued to keep the scoreboard ticking as they held a 29-13 advantage on the hour mark.

But a strong finish to the match saw hosts edge ahead thanks to a late converted try from inside centre Meyer Bosman, which proved to be the game clincher.

Bosman was named Man of the Match as he finished with a personal haul of 19 points (one try, four conversions and two penalties) and failed to miss a kick at goal.

The Cheetahs will be very disappointed, especially after holding the lead for most parts of the clash.

It was a kicking contest early on in the opening 40, with Bosman trading penalties with wing Nico Scheepers and flyhalf Sias Ebersohn adding a drop goal. But two Shark errors allowed the visitors to cross the chalk in quick succession before half-time.

First, scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius pounced on to a loose ball in the Sharks’ red zone to score, after flank Jacques Botes dropped an easy pass in front of his own tryline. Then wing Raymond Rhule was put into space down the left touchline for a clear run to the whitewash.

The Sharks enjoyed a perfect start to the second half as Riaan Viljoen bashed over for the first points of the second stanza.

The Cheetahs continued to build their lead via Scheepers (a try and a penalty) and a second Ebersohn drop goal, before a brace from wing Odwa Ndungane saw the Sharks trail within touching distance.

Momentum clearly switched hands at the death as the Sharks held the ascendancy. And they capitalised against a scrambling Cheetahs defence as Bosman dotted down to seal a vital bonus-point win.