The Cheetahs returned to the top of the Currie Cup standings with a resounding 44-15 (24-10 at half-time) victory over the Sharks at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon.
The Cheetahs were in devastating form in the first half, securing their bonus point for the fourth try before half-time, eventually outpacing the visitors by six out of two attempts, for a dominant result that secures their position as competition favorites with the team. their ninth consecutive victory.
The Sharks, by contrast, have lost shape since starting the competition with four straight wins, and now sit with five wins, one draw and three losses and could be drawn into a play-off battle with Griquas and Pumas four points behind. them in third place now.
Here are four talking points:
It was an all-out attack by the Cheetahs in the first half, who ran four attempts to seal the bonus point in the first 40 minutes. Two tries in the first 12 minutes seemed to suggest the Cheetahs would run away, but the next two came in at the 29th.th and 40th minutes. With the damage done in the first half, the Cheetahs then went to a boil in the second but still ran in two more attempts to seal a deserved victory.
The Cheetahs have been consistently at the forefront throughout the match, largely thanks to their forward dominance, shown by their group in scrums and mauls. Their fourth first-half try was all made by a huge scrum in the Sharks 22m, while their sixth second-half try was by a powerful maul that made it short with substitute hooker Louis van der Westhuizen it detached and dived.
The sharks showed a brave defense to make sure the cheetahs didn’t beat the half-century mark. It was by no means a perfect defensive performance, with Cheetahs winger Rosko Specman and Daniel Kasende making long-range stoppages leading to tries, with three of their home squads helping. However the Sharks stepped forward during the middle stages of the first half and second half to stop the Cheetahs numerous times when they joined the 22m Sharks.
For the Cheetahs, who have recently taken a hit in their efforts to get back into international franchise action, they are making the best possible statement as they are heading towards a perfect season. With nine out of nine wins, the Cheetahs are at the top of the register and are well on their way to making it through the group stage unbeaten, with three more games of pool ahead of the knockout. This win over the Sharks also sealed their place in the playoffs, with another win likely enough to seal a home semi-final.
Cheetahs: Tries – Victor Sekekete, Marnus van der Merwe, Cohen Jasper, Andisa Ntsila, Mihlali Mosi, Louis van der Westhuizen; Conversions – Ruan Pienaar (3), Siya Masuku; Penalties – Pienaar, Masuku
sharks: Tries-Cameron Wright, Dan Jooste; Conversion: Boeta Chamberlain; Chamberlain of Penalties