Sharks chomp on Cheetahs
Plumtree's men storm back to claim playoff place.
By Rebecca Stephenson. Last Updated: 14/07/12 7:31pm
The Sharks will take their place in the Super Rugby play-offs next week after a stunning second half display against the Cheetahs in Durban.
The 34-15 bonus-point victory lifts John Plumtree's men to fifth in the table and guarantees that they will compete in the end of season finals for the second year running.
The Sharks started the day in eighth place and looked in danger of missing out on the fight for honours as they trailed 15-6 at half time.
But four unanswered tries from Keegan Daniel, Charl McLeod, Marcell Coetzee and Ryan Kankowski after the break gave the Durban-based side the five points needed to ensure their season will extend until at least next weekend.
Sharks fly-half Frederic Michalak also contributed 14 points with the boot in the victory, with the Cheetahs points coming from five Riaan Smit penalties before the interval.
However, the hosts looked a different team in the second period and it took them just four minutes to start their fightback with Daniel crossing for the opening try of the match, and Michalak adding the extras.
McLead then made the most of some superb skill from man of the match JP Pietersen to cross for the Sharks' second try in the 58th minute, before Coetzee charged away to add another score three minutes later, with France fly-half Michalak converting both.
That left the hosts 27-15 ahead and there was still time for them to grab a bonus point when Kankowski went over for the final try of the match in the 74th minute, Michalak again adding the conversion with a straightforward kick.