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Stirring second-half show takes Sharks to play-offs

Date

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.

AFP

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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