The Sharks beat the Cheetahs 19-13 in a forgettable, scrappy Super Rugby Unlocked clash at Kings Park, Durban.
Madosh Tambwe scored a last-ditch try to give the Sharks their fourth Super Rugby win over the Cheetahs on the bounce.
Curwin Bosch starred again, and he was flawless from the tee, kicking four penalties and a conversion for 14 points.
He also assisted Tambwe’s score to claim his second Player-of-the-Match award in a row.
The victory sees the Sharks move ahead of the Cheetahs into second place on the Super Rugby Unlocked log, three points in front of the Bloemfontein franchise.
William Small-Smith had looked to have scored a controversial late winning try to give the Cheetahs their first lead of the game in the 71st-minute. But Tambwe’s dagger stole the points.
Sharks dominate scrappy first stanza but Cheetahs stay in the hunt
Bosch kicked three penalties to Tian Schoeman’s two as the Sharks edged the Cheetahs in a dour Super Rugby game on South Africa’s east coast.
Jeremy Ward had a try chalked off by the TMO, which would have put Sean Everitt’s charges out of sight heading into the last 20 minutes of a tight affair.
Schoeman kicked one of three first-half penalty attempts as the Cheetahs botched several good scoring opportunities.
The Free State No 10’s first goal came with the Free state side trailing 6-0 with a man in the sin-bin.
Rosco Specman’s sloppy handling cost his team five points before the interval, but the visitors hung in.
JJ van der Mescht could have seen red but was not even yellow carded. His indiscretion gave Schoeman a chance to make it 9-6 in the 67th-minute, which the standoff did.
With nine minutes to play, William Small-Smith scored a dubious try to put the visitors in front. The TMO looked at Schoeman’s pass to Small-Smith and somehow decided the flyhalf’s pass was not forward.
The 29-year-old first receiver added the extras to open up a slim four-point lead.
The joy, however, was short-lived. Specman went to the naughty step, and Bosch conjured up some more magic to win the game for the men in black.
The Sharks took a slender lead into the shed at the break but should have been ahead by more
The first 40 minutes might have been the worst in Super Rugby Unlocked this season. Both teams could not handle the ball despite the conditions being dry and not humid for this time of year on the east coast.
They were lethargic, sloppy, and played without pace or tempo. Neither team could take the ball through the phases for any sustained period, and the unforced errors mounted.
The visitors had an excuse, they had not played in three weeks after getting a bye-week and a game called off against the Lions because of Covid-19. The hosts had no excuses.
Bosch kicked two first-half penalties to give the Sharks a 6-0 lead at the break. The first after Aidon Davis took a man out in the air at the lineout, the second after several infringements as the home team counter-attacked.
The hosts really should have led by more, but they turned down four kickable goals, opting for attacking lineouts instead.
Both hookers and sets of jumpers struggled with lineouts. Each pack lost a couple of goal-line set-pieces through poor throwing and catching.
Specman knocked-on a certain score after Schoeman’s line-break near the end of the half.
Schoeman missed a game-leveling penalty straight after Bosch opened the scoring in the 34th-minute.
Carl Wegner received a yellow card before Bosch’s second penalty, on the stroke of halftime. It was for cynical team infringements, and cost his team three.
Cheetahs win the third quarter despite being a man down
The Sharks had the better of the opening exchanges after the break, but they could not turn pressure into points.
A good driving maul inside the opposition’s 22 went nowhere. Retshegofaditswe Nche gave away a silly penalty after entering the maul from the side.
Schoeman slotted a long-range penalty to halve the deficit in the 49th-minute.
Three minutes later, Ward thought he scored the game’s first try. Ward took Bosch’s long skip-pass, and scored in the corner.
The try was only possible because of Chris Smit knocking on Bosch’s ‘Gary Owen’. Manie Libbok ran into Smit without any challenge for the ball, and the try was chalked off by the TMO.
Soon afterward, Schoeman attempted a massive kick, especially at sea level, and did not reach the posts.
It was soon Bosch’s turn to attempt a long-range penalty. The 23-year-old smashed the 56-metre kick through the sticks to reopen the six-point advantage going into the last quarter.
Van der Mescht was fortunate not to be red-carded for a high shot on Schoeman; the lock did not even receive a yellow, which is strange considering the modern laws on reckless tackles.
The Free State flyhalf doubled his team’s score to make it a three-point ball-game with 13 minutes remaining.
Thrilling last 10 minutes see the lead change hand twice as the teams found their mojo
Small-Smith gathered Schoeman’s – forward – pass, beat the defenders to put the visitors ahead. The flyhalf added the extras to make it 9-13.
Specman saw yellow, and the game changed. Everitt’s men did not give up, and they hit back through Tambwe.
He collected Bosch’s pin-point crossfield kick, danced around a defender, and scored the match-winning try.
The standoff slotted the conversion before adding a penalty after the hooter to seal the deal.
Final Score: Sharks 19 (6) Cheetahs 13 (0)
Tries – Tambwe
Pen – Bosch (4)
Con – Bosch
Tries – Small-Smith
Pen – Schoeman (2)
Con – Schoeman
Cards – Wegner (Yellow, 41′), Specman (Yellow, 74′)
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant Ref 1: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 2: Paul Mente
TMO: Marius Jonker
15 Manie Libbok, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Phendulani Buthelezi, 7 Henco Venter (captain), 6 Dylan Richardson 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 John Hubert-Meyer, 2 Dan Jooste, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche
Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Werner Kok
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Junior Pokomela (captain), 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Teboho Mohoje, 20 Jeandré Rudolph, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Howard Msnisi,