Cheetahs stun Sharks

2009-10-17 16:19

Durban - In an ill-tempered match which at times almost reached boiling point, the Cheetahs shocked the Sharks in the dying seconds to beat them 23-21 in their Absa Currie Cup semifinal in Durban on Saturday.
VIDEO: Match Highlights

GALLERY: The match in pictures

The standout player was undoubtedly Cheetahs flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter who scored the winning drop goal on the stroke of full-time, with the Sharks desperately defending their one-point lead. He also scored one of the visitors' two tries, and ended up with 18 of the Cheetahs' 23 points.

"We can exactly pinpoint where it went wrong, but well done to the Cheetahs, they played well," said Sharks captain Stefan Terblanche.

The Cheetahs, who were the underdogs against a Springbok-laden Sharks outfit, have now qualified for the final having just sneaked into the semis.

Referee Marius Jonker wasn't a popular figure with the spectators and was booed for heavily penalising the home team at the breakdowns, but the constant pressure applied by an excellent Cheetahs pack of forwards eventually silenced the passionate home support.

The hosts held a commanding 15-3 lead at halftime and three minutes after the break Sharks flyhalf Juan Hernandez struck a drop goal to increase the lead to 18-6, but then the Cheetahs fought back, scoring 14 unanswered points in quick succession to surge into a 20-18 lead with 20 minutes left on the clock.

Two tries - by prop WP Nel in the 45th minute and an intercept try by Potgieter 14 minutes later - saw the visitors take a surprising two-point lead before a penalty from Pienaar put the home team back in front by 21-20.

The stage was set for a hero, and Potgieter obliged.

With Potgieter kicking off, it was the visitors who applied the early pressure and after flank Heinrich Brussow turned over two early balls, Sharks lock Johann Muller was penalised by Jonker.

Potgieter made no mistake as they took a 3-0 lead.

Three minutes later Cheetahs No 8 Ashley Johnson was stopped metres short of the Sharks goalline, but it was the Sharks who turned over the lineout possession.
They attacked from deep inside their own half and wing Odwa Ndungane chipped the ball forward for Terblanche to pounce and score the first try of the semifinal in the tenth minute. Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar missed the conversion and the Sharks were 5-3 ahead.

There was huge interest in the build-up to the game concerning the big scrum contest and after 15 minutes the first scrum advantage went the Cheetahs' way with prop WP Nel putting huge pressure on Beast Mtawarira, resulting in the home team being penalised.

The Cheetahs started to gain the ascendancy at the breakdowns but unfortunately for them Potgieter missed vital penalties in the 18th and the 22nd minutes.
In the 37th minute Pienaar stretched the Sharks' lead to 8-3 with his first successful kick of the game from a penalty.

The Sharks scored their second try on the stroke of halftime after a brilliant run by left wing JP Pietersen, who put flank Jacques Botes in possession, who in turn tossed a long pass in-field to an unmarked Pienaar, who went over for a spectacular try. Pienaar converted himself and the Sharks took a healthy 15-3 lead at the break. But a fightback from the visitors in the second half earned them a place in the final.

The Cheetahs made a late change to their side shortly before kickoff with Danwel Demas, who accompanied the team to Durban, replacing Jongi Nokwe on the left wing. Nokwe withdrew due to a hamstring injury.


Sharks: Tries - Stefan Terblanche, Ruan Pienaar. Conversion - Pienaar. Penalties - Pienaar (2). Drop goal - Juan Hernandez

Cheetahs: Tries - WP Nel, Jacques-Louis Potgieter. Conversions -Potgieter (2). Penalties - Potgieter (2). Drop goal - Potgieter


Sharks: Stefan Terblanche (captain), Odwa Ndungane, Adrian Jacobs, Riaan Swanepoel, JP Pietersen, Juan Hernandez, Ruan Pienaar, Ryan Kankowski, Jean Deysel, Jacques Botes, Johann Muller, Steven Sykes, John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: Craig Burden, Jannie du Plessis, Albert van den Berg, Keegan Daniel, Rory Kockott, Monty Dumond, Andries Strauss.

Cheetahs: Hennie Daniller, Lionel Mapoe, Corn Uys, Meyer Bosman, Jongi Nokwe, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, JP Joubert Ashley Johnson, Frans Viljoen, Heinrich Brussow, David de Villiers, Nico Breedt (capt.), WP Nel Richardt Strauss, Wian du Preez.

Replacements: Coenie Oosthuizen, Izak van der Westhuizen, Hendro Scholtz, Kabamba Floors, Tewis de Bruyn, Louis Strydom, Fabian Juries.


  • BLOUBOK - 2009-10-17 21:08

    Sharks = Chokers, AGAIN. GO BULLE, the cup is coming home.

  • Freek - 2009-10-17 21:25

    Daar is net een staat!

  • Cobus - 2009-10-17 21:31

    As 'n bul ondersteuner wil ek dankie se vir die Sharks en die WP. Julle het goeie rugby op gedis in hierdie 2009 Currie beker seisoen. Ek het elke oomblik geniet hierdie jaar om jul in aksie te sien. Rugby is gesond. Dit is nie lekker om so te verloor in 'n semi nie. Geluk aan die Bulle en die Cheetas! Dit gaan 'n groot eindstryd wees. Bulle moet die spel net nie los maak nie.

  • Craig - 2009-10-17 21:58

    6 points down and Smit and Bismark having a giggle together after getting a kalp at a scrum, just sums all it up, Cheetahs wanted it more and the Sharks were a disgrace. Secondly, what the hell is ABSA Stadium doing half empty for Currie Cup semi-final, apathy all round I say!!!!!

  • Robert @ Sharkey - 2009-10-17 22:14

    As a Bulls supporter I take my hat off to you !!! Can see you know your rugby and not like 90% of the people that place comments here, that just comment to make other people and teams look bad. I'm a HUGE Bulls supporter and looking forward to final. Bulls can win (I said can and not will) if they beat Brussow !! That guy (as a Bulls supporter with Morne & Fourie in our team) is by far the best Rugby player in SA. Blue Bull Luv to ALL

  • pp - 2009-10-17 22:30

    the Cheetah shrink (Christo Spies) said before the game that the cheetahs are mentally prepared to handle anything and how right he was - well done Cheetahs!

  • Andre Kriel - 2009-10-17 22:44

    Jy kan nie jou siel verkoop vir 'n huisie by die see nie, die ouens wat nou vir die STAAT speel wil by Navel Hill wees, ver van die see af.

  • Bob - 2009-10-17 22:57

    Chokers. The team of so called second stringers would of done us proud. Only to be messed up by so called Springboks who never performed in any of the previous three matches. Dissapointed and disgusted!!!

  • Birdman - 2009-10-18 00:06

    As a Sharks supporter, I was at the game. Well payed Cheetahs! You outplayed the sharks and dominated throughout. I read that Os was going to be in your changeroom - and it showed! You crushed our scrum - bottom line!. Now, just beat the Bulls!

  • owie - 2009-10-18 01:44

    WP nel looks like he was bui;t for scrumming. And he can play in the loose. Mapoe, very good. Ashley Johnson, Solid. I also thought JP Jouberts service was very good. If the Sharks had a reliable kicker kicking, it good have been a different outcome. But thats rugby. I never saw the game live and was worried that the Bulls vs Cheetahs game might be a little one sided. But if they play like that again, it promises to be a thrashing final.

  • Shaun - 2009-10-18 05:30

    As a staunch Shark supporter I say well done to the Cheetahs- they wanted it more than we did and played well.We didnt play our best and kicked away possession more times than I like to remember.Dont think that Sharks fans are bad losers and blame the ref but he did make some hairy calls(I thought) but we should be better than that and still beaten them.Did anyone else notice how involved the touch judges were in the WP -BULLS game and yet not a peep from our fellows at all. I saw a few penaltys (one against Sharks) that could have been yellow card material.If they had been called I dont think it would have been such a bad tempered affair. Officials have to keep control but not be centre of attention. I am most upset at the loss but we didnt do ourselves proud. Will be back to cheer the guys on next year. Also well done to Bulls.Dont like it but live with the watching on telly on 31st instead of enjoying cold beer at ABSA watching Sharks in a final - win or lose! Oh yes and guys dont be too mean to other supporters - we all enjoy healthy competition and know we all dont like losing - just dont rub their noses in it.

  • Sharks Supporter - 2009-10-18 07:32

    Well done Cheetahs!! You outplayed the Sharks & when they got momemtum, you still kept them at bay! Cheetahs were outstanding in the srums in the 1st half and then Jacques-Louis Potgieter had a blinder!!!! Well done once again, I'll be backing you in the final at Loftus!!!!

  • Nicky Grieshaber - 2009-10-18 08:16

    Ah well, if the Sharks persist in kicking the ball away to backlines like those of the Cheetahs, thereby not only handing hard-won ball back to the opposition on a plate, but also turning a chance to attack into a need to defend, what can they expect? I'm a Sharks supporter, but absolutely no sympathy this time. They should have learned from the previous two games and didn't.

  • Snakebite - 2009-10-18 08:28

    The Sharks paid ultimate price for turning blind eye on local talent Why rely on imports (flyhalf) if Pienaar available. Use "import funds" to retain own superstar (Steyn) Then the ULTIMATE stupidity = the local game winner (Cockett) = a spectator on the bench EISCH - The result = CC Final in Pta THANK YOU VERY MUCH Mr Plummie

  • blackshark - 2009-10-18 08:37

    From a die-hard sharks supporter...What a PATHETIC display of Sharks rugby. Kicking away possession and allowing the Cheetahs to play their game...what a recipe for self-destruction! Cheetahs wanted it just that much more, afterall, they did 90 percent of the playing. Lets not blame the ref and his linesmen, but that was NOT a great performance either. What an impact a ref can have on a game. I reckon we do away with the ref and get Microsoft to design an infra-red, magnetic ref system, based on the rules of the game and not on some bad call and opinion by a ref having a bad day. Well done to cheetahs...will support you in the FINAL!!!! Beautiful display of running rugby!

  • William Shakespeare - 2009-10-18 08:48

    @Craig: Yes, you are right - it was shameful to see the Sharktank underfilled for a semi-final. Perhaps that's 'cos the Sharks have groupies, not supporters. Loftus would have been sold out. Like (real) sharks can smell blood one part in a million, so could Durban smell defeat, and many didn't want to be there to witness the spectacle.

  • Molefe - 2009-10-18 09:05

    @The Sharks Supporters, guys.. Your team lost against a very good young Cheetas team. . A team who showed up some of the weaknesses in The Sharks that others have been warning you about for a while. Some of the youngsters in this Cheetas team must be destined for greater things! There is no dishonour in loosing such a closely fought contest! As a Bulls supporter I am worried! With the wind up their tails like these these guys do not need to stand back for anybody! I give them a 50/50 chance of beating the Bulls, even at Loftus. That is how worried I am. Especially with that front row that they have!

  • Hux - 2009-10-18 09:08

    I am a major shark fan but do not blame the ref. Every time the sharks got the ball they kicked it back to the Cheetahs and said....Here, you have a go! What a bad game plan.

  • WP man - 2009-10-18 09:49

    Goddank Marius Jonker het nie die BB/WP wesstryd geblaas nie. Om te verloor, is nooit lekker nie, maar minstens het die WP NIE verloor as gevolg van 'n onbevoegde skeidsregter nie. Of dalk moes hy juis geblaas het en kon die WP dalk wen as gevolg van 'n paar kak beslissings (net 'n grappie). Jonker is 'n verleentheid vir rugby en moet die eerbare stap doen om uit te tree

  • William Shakespeare - 2009-10-18 10:30

    @ Michael Wallace: No, the Sharks did right by beating Griquas. Otherwise they would have had a semi-final against us (the Bulls) and even though it turns out the Cheetahs beat the Sharks (although only just of course) the Sharks would clearly not have wanted to play the Bulls in the semi. If that had happened and we had beaten you, then your post this morning would read how the Sharks should have tried harder against the Griquas, right?

  • chameleon - 2009-10-18 10:43

    after the week's bravado, i'm glad it's all over. lessons to be learnt: don't boast before the result, don't diss the cheetahs, don't get personal (it makes you look like an idiot). mind you, with all those vrystaters in the sharks team, i'm surprised they didn't win!

  • Piet - 2009-10-18 11:06

    I am a cheetahs supporter and a referee. Marius did have a bad day at the office, there where a few bad calls in the ruck. I am amazed that everybody thinks the Cheetahs "outscrumed" the Sharks, if you understand the game, you would have seen Marius did not pick-up on the tight head pushing down. Mairus did not blow it!!! It would have been a penalty every time. I support the Cheetahs, but I think the final with JK blowing will be very different. I know a final is normally a low scoring game, BUT I see at least 30 points on the Cheetahs for the final. If it came to consitantancy it should have been a Bulls Sharks final and not even a WP supporter can deny that. We are lucky we are still in the S14 for heavans sake now people are saying we have the Springbok fron row!!! Learn the laws ans then watch the game we refs make mistakes and do also have off days.

  • frans - 2009-10-18 11:16

    In true fashion the Sharks did not dissapoint with their "throw it away in the last minute" legacy...a reminder why I stopped supporting the "lekke by die see" span. Well done Cheetah's, your hearts where in the game and deserved the win. Looking forward to a spine chilling final, good luck to both teams. Go Bulle, Go Cheetah's!!

  • Sharks fan - 2009-10-18 11:45

    As a Sharks fan I am naturally bitterly disappointed but, hey guys, stop blaming the ref. Rather blame John Dumbtree and his pathetic Guppies. They were totally out-scrummed and their defence was non-existent, as it has been for about the last 3 games. If WP Nel does not receive a call-up to the Springbok squad for the end-of-year tour, then there is definitely something wrong with our selectors

  • FRANCOIS NEEDS A TEACHER GUYS! - 2009-10-18 11:52

    Shame “ou Fransie” you really struggle with the English huh my broer! Rather write in Afrikaans...I am sure the guys will understand. Don’t open your mouth so wide seeing that your brain gets even smaller then! PROVINCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought it was supposed to have been an easy game for the Bulls!?

  • Lionel - 2009-10-18 12:35

    We deserved to lose, the pathetic defense of a 1 point lead with aimless kicks and endless dropgoal attempts was beyond brainless and congrats to the Cheetahs, you always play to the last whistle and deserved your win. Why Plumtree insisted on playing Adi instead of Waylon only he can know and will have to live with. I am truly disappointed in the team again but Sharks Forever!

  • Paul - 2009-10-18 13:07

    "The Beast" has become "Bambi", Riaan Pienaar is the k*****t player I have ever seen GET RID OF HIM QUICKLY, he spends more time shaking his thick head. And as for the pearler Adi Jacobs - he is obviously an AA player - absolutely useless. To think the Sharks sacrificed Brad Barrett for this passanger.

  • Cobri - 2009-10-19 07:28

    And poor Joel Stransky already wrote the Cheetahs of in the 38th minute..... His commentary is getting worse by the game and as bad as some refereeing decisions. He should rather stick to running commentary and refrain from stupid predictions and prophecy

  • Nic @ Paul - 2009-10-19 11:13

    Can't agree more with your statement about the Beast, but if anyone was paying attention he had one great game this entire season...1st test against the Lions...He demolished Vickery, but in the 3rd test there was no Bismarck next to him and Vickery matched him if not beat him back...Beast is the most overrated scrummager in the Country....The CHeetahs destroyed the Springbok front row on Saturday, which kind of shows you how important the locks are behind them...

  • Guy - 2009-10-19 12:51

    This clear as glass. BMT - big match temperament. This is what was lacking in the Sharks play - and in the WP game plain and simple bad luck. I being a true Blou Bul are more than satisfied by the outcome but all credit to the smaller guys who played very well during the season build up and lost against formidable players like Victor and the boys. GRIEKWAS - manne. Nou - die blou bul eet nie van die vloer af nie. Cheetas ! Payback time!

  • Neels Grobler - 2009-10-19 13:56

    Even as a Bull supporter, it is sad for me that Jacques-Louis Potgieter is moving to the Blue Bulls next season. He is too good to sit on the bench for Steyn. Maybe if he stayed at the Cheetahs they could compete better in the S14.

  • staffie - 2009-10-19 15:47

    ek wens hulle wil die refs wat soos hulle gat blaas beboet, daar was maklik 5 vorentoe aangee wat nie een van hulle optel nie, dis belaglik, die bulle gaan die finaal so ver wen want die cheetahs het dit nie in hulle om te wen nie

  • GP - 2009-10-19 17:04

    I am a bid sad with all the negative comments. Although the Sharks lost, they are still a great team. They still finished top of the log - because they are a good side. Unfortunately there has to be a loser. And as much as it depends on the team, it also depends on the bounce of the ball. The bounce was perfect for J-L Potgieter to go and score the try, although he made three blunders in the first half that could easily have cost the Cheetahs the game. And no I am not a Shark-supporter, actually I’m a Cheetah supporter. But please support your team - even if they loose. It is still exciting for South African rugby to have two semi-finals that were so closely contested.