Just like the previous week at Newlands the Cheetahs failed to get on the scoreboard in the second period. Both teams scored two tries, but apart from a period midway through the first half it was the Sharks who enjoyed greater possession and territory to turn around a 15-13 halftime deficit.
The Cheetahs, however, will wonder why they capitulated after rocking the Sharks with early tries through flank Lappies Labuschagne in the 21st minute and wing Raymond Rhule five minutes later to ensure a commanding 15-6 advantage.
But it all changed for the Cheetahs as they started to succumb to the Sharks’ forward tenacity as captain Boom Prinsloo was yellow carded for a professional foul on the ground in the 32nd minute. “In this competition you need to win your home matches,” said Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske.
“The card before halftime was a setback, we needed to keep our discipline, while their try just before the break was a blow.”
The Sharks hit back with a try by powerhouse flank Jean Deysel on the stroke of halftime, while their second by centre Louis Ludik in the 65th minute gave the Durbanites the lead back for the first time since the 13th minute.
Cheetahs prop Trevor Nyakane was a power of strength with his influence at scrum-time and his ball-carrying strengths, while new Sharks flyhalf Fred Zeilinga, weighed in with a drop goal, one conversion and a penalty, and showed huge promise.
Sharks coach Brad MacLeod-Henderson said it was a mission achieved: “We don’t dwell on the past (previous results in Bloemfontein), we know it’s always tough to come and win here.”