Potgieter sees red as Sharks edge Cheetahs
REPORT: Jacques Potgieter’s sending off proved decisive and costly for Cheetahs as they went down 31-38 to Sharks at Kings Park on Sunday.
*As it happened: Sharks v Cheetahs
The Cheetahs were trailing with one point (18-19) when Potgieter was shown a red card after 43 minutes for a dangerous tackle.
The Sharks scored almost immediately in his absence with warning lights going on for the Free Staters.
They deserve a lot of credit for never giving up and in the end, with the Sharks reduced to 13 men with two yellow cards in quick succession, the Cheetahs could still salvage a draw, but it wasn’t to be as the hosts scored at crucial times to keep the scoreboard ticking over and maintaining a two-score lead for most of the second half.
Dylan Richardson led their charge with a busy afternoon, keeping his side on the front foot with some strong runs, and working hard on defence, while the Sharks also ensured they played most of the game in the Cheetahs’ half, making life difficult for the visitors.
The first half was quite an even affair as both sides showed some attacking intent from early on – Evardi Boshoff went over for the Free Staters after seven minutes, while Thaakir Abrahams responded for the hosts in the 12th minute.
Two penalty goals by Brandon Thomson increased the Cheetahs’ lead from 7-5 to 13-5, but two tries in four minutes, by the Sharks’ Kerron van Vuuren and Henco Venter – both from set piece play – put the Durbanites in the lead late in the half.
A try by Craig Barry shortly before the break made it a one-point game (19-18) as the teams took a rest.
Potgieter’s indiscretion came early in the second half and although the Cheetahs hung on, they struggled to contain the KwaZulu-Natalians, with a man extra for all of 37 minutes.
Cameron Wright scored straight away for the Sharks and although Thomson clawed three points back for the visitors and Cameron Dawson scored a try from an attacking lineout, Van Vuuren and Abrahams got their second tries midway through the half to put the hosts firmly in control as the clock wound down.
Venter, who captained the Sharks on the day, and Emile van Heerden were sin-binned late in the match after being warned about repeated infringements, which gave the Free Staters a sniff as they suddenly had the numerical advantage.
It paid off with less than two minutes left when Robert Ebersohn, back with the Cheetahs after eight seasons abroad, went over in the corner, but that was as good as it got for the visitors who got two points from the game, while the Sharks bagged five.
Tries: Abrahams 2, Van Vuuren 2, Venter, Wright
Cons: Chamberlain 3, Cronje
Tries: Boshoff, Barry, Dawson, Ebersohn
Pens: Thompson 3
Yellow cards: Henco Venter (Sharks, 74 – Deliberate knockdown), Emile van Heerden (Sharks, 75 – Cynical foul)
Red card: Jacques Potgieter (Cheetahs, 42 – Dangerous tackle to the head)
Sharks: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Henco Venter (captain), 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Emile van Heerden, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Khwezi Mona
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Jeandre Labuschagne, 20 James Venter, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Yaw Penxe
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Tian Meyer (captain), 8 Mihlali Mosi, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Reinier Viljoen, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Brandon de Kock, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Robert Ebersohn
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Local appointments
TMO: Egon Seconds