BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa (AP) — The Sharks held off the Cheetahs for a 29-22 win in Super 15 rugby on Saturday, pulling off a try-saving tackle five meters out in the final three minutes to open their season with an away win.
Hennie Daniller was stopped by Meyer Bosman just short in the left corner, denying the Cheetahs a chance at a draw after trailing 26-5 with around 20 minutes to go.
Sharks and Springboks flyhalf Patrick Lambie kicked 19 points, and wing Lwazi Mvovo and flanker Marcell Coetzee scored tries in each half for the visitors at Free State Stadium.
Philip van der Walt crossed inside the first 10 minutes for the game's first try for the Cheetahs, but the Sharks were in firm control until Pieter Labuschagne and Johann Sadie went over and Daniller just failed to complete the fightback.
Daniller snatched a kickoff in the 77th minute and went 40 meters before Meyer dragged him down meters short and the Sharks left with a victory.
No. 8 Van der Walt went over from a lineout early, before the Sharks went ahead with penalties from Lambie in the 21st, 26th and 28th minutes. Mvovo broke away to outpace the defense in the 29th for his try after the ball went loose from a lineout, and fellow Springbok and flanker Coetzee scored in the 46th to put the Sharks well ahead. Lambie added a penalty soon after to open a 21-point lead.
Labuschagne combined with fellow loose forward Van der Walt for the Cheetahs' second try and center Sadie broke the line to dive over near the corner flag with just over 15 minutes left.
Lambie added his seventh successful kick with three minutes to go, holding off the Cheetahs' fightback.
Daniller claimed possession straight from the kickoff and went nearly half the length of the field before Bosman — a former Cheetahs player — came to the rescue at the end for the Sharks.
Sharks 29 (Lwazi Mvovo, Marcell Coetzee tries; Pat Lambie 2 conversions, 5 penalties), Cheetahs 22 (Philip van der Walt, Pieter Labuschagne, Johann Sadie tries, Johan Goosen 2 conversions, penalty). HT: 16-5