Pat Lambie’s brilliance dominated the Sharks Currie Cup semi-final win against the Cheetahs.
The Sharks will play Western Province in the final in Cape Town.
Lambie produced his best flyhalf performance since his skill beat Western Province in the 2010 Currie Cup final.
The Sharks won 33-22 after leading 16-7 at halftime.
Lambie ignited what had been an awful first 30 minutes, played in front of a sparse crowd, with a fantastic solo effort to score. He then produced several moments of quality on attack in the second half as the Sharks won comfortably.
Lambie’s performance was the stand out, as was Johan Goosen’s contribution in the second half.
It was also pleasing to see Frans Steyn play the first 45 minutes and he was very good defensively.
Sharks and Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis soured an imposing performance with a malicious stomp on a Cheetahs player that saw him yellow carded and Cheetahs scrumhalf Piet van Zyl was also shown yellow because of an attempted trip on SP Marais.
Both sides scored three tries but the Sharks were always two scores ahead in the second half.
Sharks – Tries: Pat Lambie, Jacques Botes, Heimar Williams. Conversions: Lambie (3). Penalties: Lambie (4).
Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Lappies Labuschagne, Johann Sadie, Schalk van der Merwe. Conversion: Riaan Smit, Johan Goosen. Penalty: Goosen.
Sharks – 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Stephan Lewies, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Heimar Williams.
Free State Cheetahs – 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Teboho Mohoje, 19 Freddie Ngoza, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Johan Goosen, 22 Rayno Benjamin.
RUN OF PLAY – Live commentary
80 The Cheetahs still not giving in and attack with aggression from their own half. Unfortunately a pass from Goosen is adjudicated to be forward and brings the attack to an end. Scrum to Sharks and should be the final play.
78 Sharks just winding down the clock now. They’ve got this one in the bag.
0 Raymond Rhule finds some space on the left hand side and shows some serious pace! He finds Piet van Zyl on his inside but spills the ball as he gets tackled!
0 Goosen misses the kick! That will dent the visitors chances!
74 TRY, CHEETAHS, VAN DER MERWE, 33-22. Schalk van der Merwe crashes over for a try! Is there a twist here?
73 Cheetahs have won a penalty after a dangerous tackle from Marcel Coetzee. They tap and take it quickly as they get close to the line!
72 The Cheetahs scrum well and win a penalty! Goosen finds touch around the 22m of the Sharks and need to score here to have any chance!
71 Cheetahs attempt an attack but eventually lose the ball after Piet-Steph du Toit puts a big hit in on Piet van Zyl!
70 Great play from Lambie as he opts for the strategical approach by putting a low kick through into the Cheetahs 22m and it trickles out.
68 CONVERSION, LAMBIE, 33=17. Lambie slots the kick and the Sharks are now well on their way to Newlands!
68 TRY, SHARKS, WILLIAMS, 31-17. Great comeback from the Sharks! They attack with purpose and pace and eventually take advantage of a massive overlap as Heimar Williams goes over for the try.
66 CONVERSION, GOOSEN, 26-17. Goosen continues his good kicking.
65 TRY, CHEETAHS, SADIE, 26-15. Don’t write the Cheetahs off just yet! They’re back in the game! Ebersohs and Sadie combine nicely before the latter crashes over for a try! Game on.
64 More foul play, this time from Bismark du Plessis who receives a yellow card for reckless use of his boot (standing on a player).
64 The Cheetahs look promising on attack with some good runs from the backs. Philip van de Walt finds some space on the wing and comes close! The Sharks manage to steal the ball and the visitors miss out on an opportunity there!
63 PENALTY, SHARKS, LAMBIE, 26-10. Great kick by Lambie!
62 The Sharks win another penalty at scrum time and lambie will have a shot at goal from just over 40m out. Will be a big ask for the Cheetahs to overcome a 16 point deficit in the last 18min.
59 A chance goes a begging as the Cheetahs manage to win the ball and clear to relieve the pressure for the moment.
58 Piet van Zyl has been given a yellow card for a trip on SP Marais. The Sharks can really put the squeeze on the Cheetahs here. They set up a line out.
57 The Sharks get going again with a promising attack. lambie chips and collects beautifully! he manages to offload in the tackle to Coetzee. They continue the play and get close to the try line, eventually being held up over the line up! The TMO just checking for a trip on SP Marais…
56 No foul play cited by the TMO and the ref is just having a chat to both captains. Lets just get on with the rugby shall we?
55 After several reset scrums again a bit of argie bargie ensues between the two teams. The ref is going upstairs now to see if there was any foul play.
52 CONVERSION, LAMBIE, 23-10. lambie makes no mistake with the kick.
51 TRY, SHARKS, BOTES, 21-10. Marcel Coetzee played a big part in this try as he carried strongly and offloaded to Botes in a bit of space to go over for the try!
49 The Sharks are on attack again as the match’s intensity has been increased. The Sharks carry strongly and eventually keep possession and have a scrum 10m out from the try line. Great attacking opportunity.
47 PENALTY, CHEETAHS, GOOSEN, 16-10. great first kick from Goosen!
46 Cheetahs are on the attack after Goosen has a good first run to get them on the front foot. The visitors go through 17 phases without making much ground. The defense is solid from the Sharks but they give away a penalty. Goosen will have a shot from 40m out.
43 Goosen has just come on for Elgar Watts. Will be nice to have the battle of the two young Bok flyhalves.
42 And the Cheetahs get us underway for the 2nd half! Lambie kicks but doesn’t find touch. Cheetahs build a few phases before Cheetahs knock on.
40 Half time score: 16-7 to Sharks. The Sharks looked a bit shaky in the opening quarter with the Cheetahs taking advantage of an early mistake by the homeside to take the lead. However the home side seemed to switch on in the last 10 min to put 10 points on the board through Pat Lambie. Both sides still in this game!
40 PENALTY, SHARKS, LAMBIE, 16-7.
39 The Sharks are on attack again! Frans Steyn throws a big pass wide to unleash Ndungane! They surge forward into the Cheetahs 22m. Persistent pressure results in a penalty to Sharks. Lambie should easily slot this one as the last act before half time.
38 CONVERSION, LAMBIE, 13-7. lambie converts his own try.
38 TRY, SHARKS, LAMBIE, 11-7. Lambie with a classic fly half show-and-go! Just what the home side needed!
35 Lambie has been using the high kick a lot to put pressure on the Cheetahs. They manage to re collect the ball and go on attack. The Sharks lacka bit of direction on attack, not looking very threatening at all. Lambie tries a chip kick for Ndungane tor un onto but over cooks it into touch.
32 PENALTY, SHARKS, LAMBIE, 6-7. Lambie slots this one.
31 The Sharks have won a penalty as Prinsloo is penalized for not releasing as a tackler. lambie will have another attempt to reduce the deficit to one.
27 A promising attack from the Sharks was stopped by Prinsloo who made a good steal at the breakdown. The Cheetahs hack down the field and Sharks attack again. Bismark puts a kick over but Daniel is called offside in the chase.
24 Oops, Lambie has pushed the kick! Cheetahs let off the hook there!
23 We having a few issues at scrum time. Many resets occurring. The pitch is wet which might have something to do with it! Finally the Sharks receive a short arm and the home side surges towards the Cheetahs try line! Prinsloo is penalized for hands in the ruck and lambie will have the easiest of kicks for three points!
19 Sharks forwards do good work at the breakdown to win a penalty. lambie sets up a line out just outside the 22m.
18 Smit just pulls his kick to the left and the Sharks get away with that one.
17 The visitors win a penalty at scrum time due to illegal binding by the Sharks. Riaan Smit will have a shot at three from the left hand corner.
16 Another Sharks grubber is charged down! This time by Strauss as he puts boot to ball! Daniel is back to gather the ball but he is under all sorts of pressure and gets driven back over his try line and forced to dot down. 5m scrum to the Cheetahs and a great attacking opportunity for them!
14 The Cheetahs look to take a quick line out and Strauss shrugs off a tackle and offloads to Nyankane in space! The pass is called forward and the Sharks have a scrum on the 10 yard line.
11 Elgar Watts puts a clever little chip kick over which Ndungane fails to gather. Sadie gets his boot to it but Ebersohn is called back for being offside in chasing the kick.
9 Cheetahs attack with much aggression after the restart. They surge into the Sharks 22m but the home sides forwards work hard as they make a steal and win a penalty. Lambie clears to relieve the pressure.
7 PENALTY, SHARKS, LAMBIE, 3-7. Pat hits it clean and straight.
6 The Sharks get the upper hand in the first scrum of the match as they win a penalty deep in Cheetahs territory! lambie will have a shot at goal.
4 CONVERSION, SMIT, 0-7. Ideal start for the visitors as Smit is successful with his first kick.
4 TRY, CHEETAHS, LABUSCHAGNE, 0-5. What a start for the Cheetahs! SP Marais’s grubber kick was charged down, Philip van der Walt neatly collected and offloaded in the tackle to Lappies who stormed the last 20m to score the opener!
0 And Lambie gets us underway in Durban. Daniller catches and clears.
0 The Cheetahs have made one change to their starting line-up for the Currie Cup semi-final match with the Sharks at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday. The alteration to the team that overcame the Bulls 22-7 comes on the right wing, with Riaan Smit wearing number 14 ahead of Rayno Benjamin.
0 The Sharks have named Frans Steyn at inside centre for their Currie Cup semi-final clash with the Free State Cheetahs in Durban on Saturday. Steyn gets his first Currie Cup start of the year and he is one of eleven capped Springbok players in the starting XV. He will partner Louis Ludik. Pat Lambie returns to start at fly-half while Wiehahn Herbst comes in at prop to replace Jannie du Plessis who injured his hand.
0 Welcome to Durban for the 2nd Currie Cup semi-final between the Sharks and the Cheetahs! WP have won the other semi-final and so the winner of this match will face them at Newlands next week.