Sharks too good for Cheetahs
September 19, 2009
The Sharks' Alistair Hargreaves stretches for a lineout during his side's victory over the Cheetahs in Durban © Getty Images
The Sharks closed in on a home semi-final in this year's Currie Cup with a 24-13 victory over the Cheetahs in Durban.
Tries from centre Waylon Murray and hooker Craig Burden and five points from the boot of fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez propelled the Sharks into a commanding 15-0 lead in the first half.
But the Cheetahs rallied with a try from No.8 Ashley Johnson and a penalty courtesy of fly-half Jacques-Louis Potgieter. The Sharks edged further ahead thanks to a drop goal from fullback Stefan Terblanche but again the Cheetahs battled back into the game and were rewarded with a try for centre JW Jonker.
With the game in the balance, a powerful drive from the Sharks' pack drew a crucial penalty which Hernandez slotted before adding another before the final whistle. The Sharks now sit on top of table - one point ahead of Western Province and four points ahead of the third-placed Griquas.
The Griquas took a big step towards the last four with a thrilling 36-31 win over the Lions in Kimberley, notching three scores in the second-half to effectively end the visitors' hopes of making the final four.
Fly-half Naas Olivier was again instrumental for the Griquas, ending with a 100% record of five penalties and three conversions.
He kept the Griquas in contention in the first-half as the Lions' discipline let them down, tries to Johan Jackson and Derick Minnie wasted as Olivier's kicks sailed over.
After the break Trompie Nontshinga sent the Griquas in to the lead, before Olivier's influence grew even further. He scythed through the Lions defence and showed up fullback Earl Rose to score under the posts.
Griquas scrum-half Sarel Pretorius was sent to the sin-bin for killing the ball as the Lions rallied, Alwyn Hollenbach scoring their third while Pretorius cooled off. He returned to the field and redeemed himself however, jinking his way through the Lions' defence to seal a dramatic win with the Griquas' third.
The Blue Bulls also profited, racking up 10 tries in a 72-16 demolition of Boland in Wellington. With their Springboks Wyanand Olivier, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Gurthro Steenkamp restored the Bulls cruised past their lowly opposition.
Replacement hooker Derick Kuun bagged a hat-trick, with Francois Hougaard helping himself to a brace of scores. The Bulls' field day was completed by further tries from John Mametsa, Gerhard van den Heever, Steenkamp, Fudge Mabeta and Stefan Watermeyer.
The home side could muster a converted try from Nico Esterhuyse and three penalties by centre Danre Gerber.
Western Province picked up vital points in the race for the Currie Cup semi-finals on Friday, cruising past the Leopards 37-3 in Potchefstroom.
Starting the weekend in second place, Luke Watson's Province side were ahead within the opening 10 minutes, when fullback Joe Pietersen crossed for the first try of the game.
He converted the score himself and added two penalties before the break as the visitors failed to take a stranglehold. Cecil Dumond landed a penalty for the home side, in what proved to be their sole scoring flourish. Watson, inspirational all season, got them going after eight minutes of the second-half with their second try and five minutes later doubled his haul for the evening to take full control.
The vital bonus-point was secured by inside-centre Juan de Jongh, who capitalised after Lions centre Deon van Rensburg was sent to the sin-bin. There was time left for Gio Aplon to round off the game in style, scoring the fifth try and keeping Province in the hunt.
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