Planet Rugby

Sharks see off Cheetahs

19th April 2014 15:35

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Sharks centre Francois Steyn kicking at goal

Big boot: Frans Steyn

The Sharks retained top spot in the Super Rugby standings with an unexciting 19-8 win over the Cheetahs in Durban on Saturday.

It was by no means the spectacle many had predicted it to be as both sides were on attack while the tactical kicking left equally little for the imagination.

Sharks pivot Tim Swiel had the opportunity to put his side ahead in the first minute of the match when the Cheetahs infringed at the breakdown, but he missed a routine kick at goal.

That attempt seemingly set the tone for what turned out to be a yawn-fest of note.

While the Sharks were always going to play a territorial game, few would have anticipated the number of unforced errors that prevented the Cheetahs from playing to their potential.

The first points of the match came courtesy of Free State fly-half Elgar Watts when a well-timed kick over the opposition defence which resulted in a penalty right in front of the sticks.

That tactical chip-kick would, however, be one of very few that worked in favour of the visiting side.

As anticipated the Cheetahs stayed true to form and attacked from all corners from the get-go, but were unable to hold onto possession at crucial times.

The Sharks had a clear kick-orientated mindset and refused to play rugby inside their own half.

While preventing their opponents from building pressure inside their 22, the Sharks were also guilty of squandering the chances they had deep inside Cheetahs territory and the first-half was one where their only real success came at scrum-time where Tendai Mtawarira dominated his opposing tighthead prop.

Mtawarira also had a few stampeding runs and, along with the great work that was conducted at the breakdown by Cheetahs fetcher Heinrich Brussow, his play was the highlight in an otherwise frustrating affair for players and spectators alike.

The Sharks had to wait more than half an hour to record their first points, and when considering the amount of time the ball spent in mid-air, the 3-3 half-time score was a good reflection of that was on display in the middle.

Although there was an initial injection of pace to the game, the theme that marked the first half continued into the second with neither of the teams coming close to threatening the opposition's try-line.

Mtawarira ensured that his side gained the ascendancy by winning another penalty at scrum-time shortly after the break.

This time Frans Steyn knocked-over the three-pointer, but still the sound of snoring substitutes could be heard from both benches.

The Sharks later made it 9-3 when Mtawarira won yet another penalty at scrum-time.

While effective earlier, Brussow would later see yellow for repeated offences at the breakdown, but to their credit, the one man disadvantage was well managed by the Cheetahs.

The first try of the match came in the 65th minute when Ryno Benjamin pounced on a Steyn clearance that was charged down by Hennie Danniler.

Benjamin found himself playing at the unfamiliar position of inside centre and his try, which was not converted, brought the Cheetahs within four.

Eventually the Sharks managed to go more than five phases without kicking or knocking the ball and this resulted in a moment flanker Jean Deysel would relish for some time.

Deysel scored his first try in his 60th Super Rugby outing and although the Cheetahs would try valiantly to get back into the match, their handling and patience on attack continued to be their downfall.

The scorers:

For Sharks:
Try: Deysel
Con: Steyn
Pen: Swiel, Steyn 3

For Cheetahs:
Try: Benjamin
Pen: Watts
Yellow card: Brussouw

The teams:

Sharks 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 S'bura Sithole, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Jaco van Tonder, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Ryan Kankowski, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 SP Marais.

Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Hennie Daniller, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Boom Prinsloo, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Riaan Smith, 23 Raymond Rhule.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Marius Jonker (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommenstein (South Africa)

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