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Stirring second-half show takes Sharks to play-offs


Colin Bryden

Marcell Coetzee of the Sharks charges towards the Cheetahs defence.

Marcell Coetzee of the Sharks charges towards the Cheetahs defence. Photo: Getty Images

DURBAN: The Sharks recovered from a woeful first half to earn a place in the Super 15 play-offs with a 34-15 win over the Cheetahs at Kings Park on Saturday.

Sharks trailed 6-15 at half-time but scored 28 unanswered points after the break with four converted tries which earned them a bonus point and enabled them to climb above the Brumbies of Australia and New Zealand's Hurricanes into the play-off placings.

Needing to win their final league match by a minimum of five points to stay in the competition, Sharks failed to fire in the first half.

The Bloemfontein-based team led through five penalty goals by fly-half Riaan Smit against two by opposite number Frederic Michalak.

Sharks played with 14 men for 10 minutes after centre Francois Steyn was given a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Robert Ebersohn in the 18th minute.

The score was 3-3 when the incident happened and Cheetahs took advantage of their numerical advantage to stretch the lead to 9-3 while Steyn was off the field.

Springbok forwards Willem Alberts and Bismarck du Plessis were not in the Sharks' starting team but with the team struggling, Sharks coach John Plumtree sent both on before the break.

It was a transformed Sharks team that came out for the second half.

Flanker and captain Keegan Daniel scored a converted try four minutes after the break and Sharks went ahead and gained the crucial five-point advantage when wing JP Pietersen made a searing break before a diagonal chip kick set up a try for scrum-half Charl McLeoad, which Michalak converted.

Pietersen was involved again, chasing and catching a kick ahead by Michalak, in a move which ended with a try next to the posts for flank Marcell Coetzee.

Sharks made sure of victory when No 8 Ryan Kankowski scored their fourth try six minutes from time.

"It was a nerve-wracking 40 minutes, but we hung in there. I was proud of the way the boys came back in the second half," admitted Daniel.

Daniel said he did not mind whether Sharks had to travel to Brisbane to play Queensland Reds or to Christchurch to meet Canterbury Crusaders in the play-offs next weekend.

"In this competition you have to win anyway, whether you travel to New Zealand or Australia."

SHARKS 34 (Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel, Ryan Kankowski, Charl McLeod tries Frederic Michalak 4 cons 2 pens) bt CHEETAHS 15 (Riaan Smit 5 pens) at ABSA Stadium. Referee: Jaco Peyper.


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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
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NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
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SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
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AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
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ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
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SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
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IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
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CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
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SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
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ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
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SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
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