The Sharks beat the Cheetahs 47-30 in an entertaining Currie Cup match in Bloemfontein.
From the get-go the contest threatened to boil over with the referee doing well to manage tempers on both sides.
The Cheetahs missed out on an early chance to take the lead as Ruan Pienaar’s boot malfunctioned. Soon After Curwin Bosch also missed a shot at goal.
It would be the hosts who would take the lead through a try by Rosco Specman. Pienaar again missed the conversion.
The Cheetahs skipper was out of sorts and would be sent to the bin shortly after his side got a team warning, thanks to a cynical infringement.
Werner Kok made the most of Pienaar’s absence when he went through a scrumhalf sized hole in the Cheetahs defence to score the Sharks first try.
The Cheetahs almost immediately hit back with a long range penalty goal from Brandon Thomson, that put them into an 8-7 lead.
Despite a curious decision by the Sharks to reject a shot at goal as Pienaar’s card expired, and fail to make their setpiece count.
However the Sharks showed how dangerous they could be on the counter as Curwin Bosch ran a wayward kick back and Marnus Potgieter shredded the defence out wide before offloading to Grant Williams to score under the sticks.
Pienaar finally goalled a kick in the 33rd minute to close the gap to three points, but just a couple of minutes later Bosch would goal a penalty of his own to make it 17-11 to the visitors with five minutes to go until the break.
The Sharks started to find space out wide and Thaakir Abrahams was electric in beating a handful of defenders before offloading, with Anthony Volmink crossing in the dying seconds of the half to allow Bosch to convert and give the visitors a 24-11 lead at the break.
The Cheetahs defended well when play was in their own half, but the Sharks found joy in the wide areas on the counter.
The flowing action of thie first half was repeated in the second period.
A pair of Cheetahs tries, scored by Thomson and Duncan Saal, got the Cheetahs back into the game after Bosch had extended the Sharks advantage with a penalty goal inside the first four minutes of the second half.
A second try from Sharks halfback Williams, in for suspended Jaden Hendrikse, ensured the visitors led 34-23 on the hour.
The Sharks might have felt the game was in the bag but moments later Specman scored another blistering try and it was game on.
Bosch had found his range though, and after giving his side a seven point buffer once again from the tee. It was also his boot that got the Sharks down into the Cheetahs 22, before the forwards forced it over with Kerron van Vuuren awarded the try.
With six minutes to play the Sharks led 44-30 but a moment of ill-discipline afforded the Cheetahs a way back into the game. They set up camp in the Sharks 22. The home side were eager to get on with the game while the Sharks used every opportunity to chew up time.
After four minutes of sustain pressure, Dyland Richardson came up with the vital play, getting over Clayton Blommetjies and winning a penalty for the Sharks isnide their own 22. Bosch then thumped the kick into touch close to the Cheetahs 22 and it was clear which way the game would go.
With time expired the Sharks opted to kick for goal after a Cheetahs infringement. Bosch slotted the kick to make it 47-30 to the Sharks.
The Sharks move to the top of the Currie Cup log heading into Sunday when two more matches will take place in round six.
CHEETAHS VS SHARKS: TEAMS
15. Clayton Blommetjies, 14. Duncan Saal,13. David Brits 12. Siya Masuku, 11. Rosko Specman, 10. Brandon Thomson, 9. Ruan Pienaar (C), 8. Aidon Davis, 7. Jacques Potgieter, 6. Jeandre Rudolph, 5. Jean Droste, 4. Rynier Bernardo, 3. Hencus van Wyk, 2. Marnus van der Merwe, 1. Aluluthu Tshakweni.
Replacements: 16. Louis van der Westhuizen, 17. Cameron Dawson, 18. Conraad van Vuuren, 19. Victor Sekekete, 20. Junior Pokomela, 21. Zinedine Booysen, 22. Reinhardt Fortuin, 23. Chris Smit.
15. Anthony Volmink, 14. Marnus Potgieter, 13. Werner Kok, 12. Marius Louw, 11. Thaakir Abrahams, 10. Curwin Bosch, 9. Grant Williams, 8. Phepsi Buthelezi (c), 7. Dylan Richardson, 6. James Venter, 5. Reniel Hugo, 4. Le Roux Roets, 3. Khutha Mchunu, 2. Kerron van Vuuren, 1. Ntuthuko Mchunu.
Replacements: 16. Dan Jooste, 17. Mzamo Majola, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Thembelani Bholi, 20. Mpilo Gumede, 21. Cameron Wright, 22. Lionel Cronje, 23. Jeremy Ward
MATCH INFORMATION: KICK-OFF, TV TIMES, LIVE STREAM, OFFICIALS
Cheetahs vs Sharks
Date: Saturday, 24 July
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Jaco Kotze and Darren Colby
Television Match Official: Paul Mente
Streaming: DStv Now