The Sharks produced a stuttering display yet still managed to hang on to defeat the Cheetahs in Durban on Saturday afternoon.
The Cheetahs started the stronger of the two teams, although they failed to take their early chances. That the hosts capitalised on their early scoring chances was probably where the match was won. Juan Martin Hernandez got the Sharks on the board with a penalty before the two decisive tries were scored. The first try was a real gem with great running and support play by captain Stefan Terblanche and Odwa Ndungane to put Waylon Murray in at the corner. Then came a great individual effort by Craig Burden who showed some soccer skills before dotting the ball down to put the Sharks 15-0 up. At this stage of the match it looked like the Sharks were headed for another big bonus point win. But the Cheetahs fought back hard and were only trailing 15-8 at half time after Ashley Johnson had scored a try. Hernandez added another penalty before the Cheetahs scored another try by . . . to bring the score to 18-13 and the cheetahs may have been ahead at this stage if the Cheetahs’ Bulls-bound flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter had not had a seriously off day with the boot. The Sharks were in a bit of trouble at this stage and a combination of poor decision-making and handling from the Cheetahs and good defence from the Sharks kept the men from Bloemfontein out. Another decisive factor was the Sharks’ bench players who came on to bring much needed calm and composure to secure the win.
News on the injury front is that Craig Burden has injured the AC joint in his shoulder and is unlikely to play a further part in this season, while Jean Deysel injured his knee although not the same one he injured in the super 14 which means that one of Justin Downey or Michael Rhodes, who have both been in the squad, is likely to start in the 7 jersey against the Leopards on Friday. Odwa Ndungane also picked up a knock on his leg and it is unclear how serious his injury is. And finally, Ruan Pienaar is set to continue at scrumhalf to get his confidence back up.Tweet