Sharks win Newlands thriller
Cape Town - It took a moment of magic from Springbok stalwart JP Pietersen to give the Sharks an 18-13 victory over the Stormers in a grueling Super Rugby clash at Newlands on Saturday.
With just a couple of minutes remaining and the scores locked at 13-13, Pietersen received a high ball just inside his half, broke through the Stormers defence and set up a try for flyhalf Joe Pietersen as the visitors snatched victory
There was also a massive moment of controversy in the second half when the Sharks were awarded a penalty try.
A physical clash had been expected, and it didn't take long for that to prove true as Eben Etzebeth absolutely steamrolled Sharks prop Coenie Oosthuizen in the opening stages.
The match only got its first points in the 16th minute, when Dan du Preez tackled Etzebeth without any arms and was punished - Kurt Coleman making no mistake from close range.
But soon after Etzebeth was penalised for not rolling away after a tackle, and Sharks flyhalf Joe Pietersen leveled matters.
It was the home side asking most of the questions after that - strong running and quick off-loading characterising their attacking movements.
The Sharks defence held firm, and while they struggled to get out of their own half or their hands on the ball, they were holding on on the scoreboard.
That was until the 29th minute.
When trying to run through the Sharks defence wasn't working, Stormers fullback Cheslin Kolbe went to the boot.
His little chip over a rushing Sharks defence was gathered by left wing Leolin Zas, who flirted with the touchline but finished off the move to put his side ahead.
Coleman added the extra two from wide left, and the hosts led 10-3.
The Sharks finished the half strong, but the Stormers defence was up to the challenge and they protected their seven-point lead going into the break.
The visitors were off to the perfect start in the second half in the most controversial fashion when they were awarded a penalty try and Siya Kolisi was sin-binned for the infringement.
After a sustained period of pressure, Sharks scrumhalf Cobus Reinach darted through and reached for the line only to have the ball dislodged from his hands by Kolisi's boot.
TMO Marius Jonker deemed it to be deliberate, and the Sharks were level at 10-10 as the Newlands crowd ... and the Twittersphere ... questioned the decision.
The physical nature of the match intensified after that - a mini-brawl on the touchline going unpunished.
The Sharks then took the lead through the boot of Pietersen, who kicked one over from just inside the Stormers half.
Coleman's mettle was then tested with just six minutes to go when he lined up a penalty from just over 40 metres.
The Stormers No 10 was composed, and he landed the kick to make it 13-13 as a massive five minutes remained.
But then the Pietersens combined to bury the Stormers.
Coach Robbie Fleck's men gave it one last go with a lineout from close range in the final minute, but the Sharks defence held firm.
Try: Leolin Zas
Conversion: Kurt Coleman
Penalties: Coleman (2)
Try: Penalty try
Conversion: Joe Pietersen
Penalties: Pietersen (2)