Sharks can’t shake Cheetahs jinx

2008-07-20 00:00

Free State 31 Sharks 9

The Free State Cheetahs, with some ease, outgunned, outplayed, outmuscled and outran the Sharks to sweep to an emphatic 31-9 win in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The Sharks last beat Free State in the Currie Cup five years ago and they have lost 10 games on the trot to them in this competition, largely played when their Springboks are unavailable.

And, on Saturday, they never looked like breaking the depressing run of defeats as they were cleaned out in almost every area of the game.

They hung on in the first half to trail 10-3 at the break, but they never really made any headway against the well-organised Free State defence.

The Currie Cup champions, after losses to WP and the Blues Bulls over the past fortnight, are now back in contention and now face the Falcons, Boland and Griquas over the next three weekends.

The Sharks have a mountain to climb on Saturday when they meet the Lions in Durban.

The Cheetahs captain and flank Hendro Scholtz and Heinrich Brüssow — the Boks could have done with him in Perth on Saturday — dominated the breakdown, while lock David de Villiers ruled the lineout, nicking some of the Sharks ball and comfortably winning his own.

The Sharks shone only in patches and they contributed to their own propblems with several dreadful mistakes behind the advantage line.

The Sharks gifted Free State wing Eddie Fredericks the opening try when the unchallenged Henno Mentz, instead of dotting down for a drop-out, flung a wild pass in the general direction of Frederic Michalak and the ball flew into touch.

Free State scored from the next move and the Sharks were on their way to a dusty defeat.

In the second half, a wild hack by Sharks number eight Keegan Daniel flew 30 metres towards his own line and provided the platform for another of the Cheetahs’ four tries. It was that sort of day for the Sharks —- and their supporters.

Scorers:

Free State Cheetahs 31 (10) — Try: Eddie Fredericks, Bevin Fortuin, Fabian Juries, Schalk van der Merwe. Conversions: Chris Rossouw (4). Penalty: Rossouw.

Sharks 9 (3) — Penalties: Monty Dumond (2), Frederic Michalak.

Lions 36 Griquas 32

Leading 24-5 at half-time, the Lions eventually defeated Griquas 36-32 in an exciting contest in Kimberley on saturday.

Playing all-out running rugby, the enterprising Lions were good value for their 19 points lead at the changeover.

Going into the final quarter of the match, Griquas still trailed by 19, and skipper Cobus Grobbelaar and his team, with five tries to Griquas’ two, must have been confident of victory.

But in a remarkable 21 points in 14 minutes at the conclusion of the match, Griquas ran in four tries to one by the Lions to almost clinch an unlikely victory with the lack of a goalkicker costing them in the end.

Scorers:

Griquas: Tries by Sarel Pretorius, Egon Seconds, Wayne van Heerden, Bjorn Basson, MJ Mentz, Rohan Kitshoff.

Tobie Botes conversion.

Lions: Tries(5): Louis Ludik 2, Willie Wepener (2), Doppies la Grange Earl Rose: Penalty, conversions (4).

Blue Bulls 26 Boland 10

The Blue Bulls gained five valuable points when they defeated the Boland Cavaliers 26-10 in a Currie Cup match at Wellington on Saturday.

The match was far from spectacular, but the Bulls were happy to leave the field with a victory and a bonus point — and Bok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez in form and in one piece.

Scorers:

Bulls: tries by Marius Delport, Wynand Olivier, Morne Steyn, Akona Ndungane . Conversions Steyn (3).

Boland: try by Renfred Dazel, Justin Peach conversion and penalty.

Fixtures (home team first)

Friday: Cheetahs v Falcons .

Saturday: W Province v Boland; Sharks v Lions.

Byes: Bulls and Griquas.

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