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Sharks bite back

The Sharks breathed life into their stuttering start to the 2015 Super Rugby season with a 27-10 bonus-point win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

The Sharks, semi-finalists last season, had won just one of their opening four matches this term, but found their form on Saturday to gain revenge over their South Africa rivals for a 35-29 home loss in week one.

Frans Steyn and Marcell Coetzee (two) crossed before the interval and then Jack Wilson went over late on to earn the Sharks their fourth try and extra point.

The Cheetahs actually scored first and last, with Willie du Plessis slotting over an early penalty and Francois Venter collecting a late converted try, but they were overrun in between as they suffered a second successive defeat.

The Cheetahs, who had won their opening two matches before losing 39-20 at home to the Bulls, took the lead when Du Plessis - in for the flu-stricken Joe Pietersen - slotted over a sixth-minute penalty

However, the Sharks then reeled off 22 unanswered points to take a commanding half-time lead.

The home side enjoyed their advantage for just two minutes before Steyn charged over for the first of three Sharks tries before the break.

Patrick Lambie added the conversion and, after Du Plessis had missed the chance to reduce the deficit, the Sharks fly-half also slotted over a 25th-minute penalty to make it 10-3.

The visitors then scored twice in the space of four minutes through South Africa flanker Coetzee to take a stranglehold on the game. Lambie saw his first conversion attempt hit the post, but his second effort from a similar spot split the uprights.

With the Cheetahs unable to claw any ground back in the second half, it was left to the Sharks to try and seal the victory with a bonus-point fourth try.

They looked to have got it in the 61st minute, but the effort was ruled out by the TMO.

However, the TMO ruled in favour of the visitors when they crossed the line again six minutes from time through Wilson near the corner.

That try earned the Sharks the extra point their play deserved, although Lambie missed the conversion on that occasion.

As the rain started to pour down, the Cheetahs managed to notch a late consolation score when Venter found a hole to cross with Francois Brummer converting, but it mattered little to the final outcome.


From Belfast Telegraph