Durban - The Cheetahs started their 2015 Super Rugby campaign with a
bang, as they upset the fancied Sharks 35-29 at King's Park in on Saturday
As it happened: Sharks v Cheetahs
The hosts lost skipper Bismarck du Plessis due to injury
before the start of the match, with flyhalf Pat Lambie taking over the
The visitors, already without influential flanker Heinrich
Brussow, then lost Springbok lock Lood de Jager inside the first ten minutes as
the game began with plenty of disruptions.
Springbok back Lambie opened the scoring for the hosts with
a 30 metre penalty, but the visitors hit back immediately, as Coenie
Oosthuizen's charge into the 22m area culminated in Willie le Roux finding Jean
Cook in space on the left wing, the flanker scoring the game's first try.
Lambie added a second penalty from 40m out, as the Sharks
struggled to contain the Free Staters' characteristically cavalier nature.
After a first Cheetahs penalty, Lambie then rounded off a
fine team move, to dot down under the posts for the Sharks'™ first try of the
season --eighthman Tera Mtembu picked up the ball from the back of the scrum,
fed scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, who then put Lambie away.
But the Cheetahs hit back immediately, as hooker Kyle
Coope's clearance kick from the restart failed to go out, and centre Francois
Venter finished off another fluent move, with a 27th minute try.
It was 17-13 by the half-hour mark and the Sharks had
further disruption when prop Tendai Mtawarira limped off before halftime. Joe
Pietersen signed off an immaculate first half's kicking display, by notching a
second penalty in the 37th minute, as the Cheetahs opened up a seven-point
Lambie had time for his third penalty on the stroke of
half-time, as an entertaining first period ended with the Sharks trailing
The men from Bloemfontein reopened a seven point lead four
minutes into the second half, as Pietersen again punished the Sharks for
infringing at the breakdown, before Lambie replied with his fourth penalty
The Sharks then rang the changes with half an hour to go,
with the notable introduction of Jean Deysel, who has returned from club rugby
Lambie made it a one-point gap in the 56th minute, after
Oupa Mohoje's high tackle had been spotted by the touch judge.
The visitors were far from done, however, and they stretched
their lead even further as Boom Prinsloo, who had just come on for Mohoje, was
pushed over from a well-worked line-out move. Pietersen surprisingly missed the
conversion, but the Cheetahs were handily placed, 28-22 ahead with a quarter of
an hour to play.
With the Sharks' defence increasingly stretched, the
Cheetahs secured their bonus point with ten minutes to play, as replacement
forward Carl Wegner crashed over from close range - Pietersen adding the
But the Sharks staged a late fight-back, which started with
a delicate Deysel flick back before he was bundled into touch, and ended with
wing Lwazi Mvovo streaking over for a converted try, to set up a tense finale.
The home side, desperate for an opening victory, then took
the ball through 18 phases, before earning a penalty under the Cheetahs' posts.
A quick tap and recycle then saw Marcell Coetzee fumble the ball inches from
the line, as the away side held on for a famous win.
Tries: Pat Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo
Conversions: Lambie (2 )
Penalties: Lambie 5
Tries: Jean Cook, Francois Venter, Boom Prinsloo, Carl
Conversions: Joe Pietersen (3)
Penalties: Pietersen (3)
15. SP Marais, 14. S’bura Sithole, 13. Waylon Murray, 12. Heimar Williams, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie (captain), 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Tera Mtembu, 7. Renaldo Bothma, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Mouritz Botha, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Monde Hadebe, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Matt Stevens, 19. Marco Wentzel,20. Jean Deysel, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Fred Zeilinga, 23. Odwa Ndungane
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Clayton Blommetjies, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Joe Petersen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Jean Cook, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Danie Minnie.
Substitutes: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 BG Uys, 18 Maks van Dyk, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Boom Prinsloo, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Willie du Plessis, 23 Cornal Hendricks