Sharks defeat Cheetahs in Bloemfontein
February 24, 2013
JP Pietersen runs through the Cheetahs' defence
© Getty Images
The Sharks held off a fast-finishing Cheetahs outfit to open their Super Rugby season with a 29-22 win in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
After conceding the game's first try, the Sharks scored 26 points without reply to take what appeared to be an unassailable lead.
But the Cheetahs stormed back into the match thanks to two tries in five minutes and they got within four points before Pat Lambie's late penalty secured victory for the Sharks.
The Cheetahs made the brighter start, taking the lead after eight minutes when a rolling maul saw Philip van der Walt go over in the corner.
The Sharks responded through Lambie though, with the flyhalf - who kicked superbly all match - booting three penalties to give his side a 9-5 lead.
And they extended that advantage to 16-5 at the break thanks to Lwazi Mvovo's converted try.
Marcell Coetzee added another try for the Sharks on 45 minutes and when Lambie kicked his fourth penalty for the match, they led 26-5.
The result in Bloemfontein appeared a formality but Pieter Labuschagne breathed life into the Cheetahs with a terrific try that was set up by a smart offload from Van der Walt.
And another try just moments later - this time from Johann Sadie - saw the margin cut to seven points.
Johan Goosen kicked a penalty with 13 minutes left to set up an exciting finish but the Sharks held on to start their season strongly.