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Stand-in Michalak leads Sharks to vital win

Date

Monthati Molosankwe

Cheetahs 20 Sharks 34

Sharks playemaker Frederic Michalak.

Sharks playemaker Frederic Michalak. Photo: Getty Images

Late inclusion Frederic Michalak scored 19 points as the Sharks kept alive hopes of a Super Rugby play-offs place with a 34-20 triumph over the Cheetahs on Saturday.

MATCH STATS

The former France Test half-back star started the all-South Africa match in the southern hemisphere provincial championship when fly-half Patrick Lambie failed a late fitness test.

Michalak converted tries by right wing JP Pietersen, himself, left wing Lwazi Mvovo and replacement back Meyer Bosman and also slotted two penalties from three attempts at a chilly Free State Stadium in this central city.

Cheetahs managed only one try from livewire hooker and captain Adriaan Strauss while fly-half Riaan Smit kicked three penalties and his replacement, Sias Ebersohn, two for a team that trailed 21-14 at half-time.

Winning with a bonus point lifted Sharks two places to sixth -- the last of three play-offs positiions -- and the Durban franchise must have a chance of staying among the top six with three of four remaining fixtures at home.

The Chiefs and Crusaders of New Zealand,Bulls and Western Stormers of South Africa and  Brumbies of Australia are looking good for knockout places.

The other place appears to rest between Highlanders and Hurricanes of New Zealand, Sharks and defending Queensland Reds of Australia, who have recovered from an early-season slump.

"It was a great to get a bonus-point victory after a typically physical battle between two South African sides," said Sharks eighthman and skipper Keegan Daniel.

His gamble after the hooter sounded for half-time proved crucial as he opted to run a close-range penalty near the posts and Springbok Mvovo went over wide out for a try Michalak converted.

A penalty from the Frenchman on 46 minutes stretched the advantage to 10 points before Ebersohn succeeded twice to leave just four points separating the teams by the hour mark.

Sharks lifted their game and Michalak kicked his second penalty before a brilliant Mvovo break took him close to the try line and a quickly recycled ball sped along the line for Bosman to go over in the corner.

Cheetahs deserved more for a typical adventurous performance and fought hard for a late try that would have garnered a bonus point, but a multi-phase post-hooter raid petered out and Sharks scrum-half Charl McLeod kicked to touch.

SHARKS 34 (Meyer Bosman, Frederic Michalak, Lwazi Mvovo, JP Pietersen tries Michalak 4 cons 2 pens) bt CHEETAHS 20 (Adriaan Strauss try Riaan Smit 3, Sias Ebersohn 2 pens) at Vodacom Park. Referee: Jonathan Kaplan.

AFP

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
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Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
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Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
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Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
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Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
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