Bloemfontein – Captain Frans Steyn lauded the Sharks' pack, with Springbok props Jannie du Plessis and Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira bolstering the front row, after the coastal side bagged a 29-22 over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday to kick off their Super Rugby campaign.
Cheetahs props Lourens Adriaanse and Trevor Nyakane tried to weather the storm, but even the appearance of Bok prop Coenie Oosthuizen could not hold off the hosts.
Unable to take the pressure up front, Oosthuizen gave away numerous penalties that Sharks flyhalf Pat Lambie kicked with ease.
“We got a good platform from the scrums for our attacks,” Steyn said.
“Guys like Jannie and Beast, actually the whole pack of forwards, dominated on the day.
“It gives us a good area to work from for the game against the Stormers (in Durban on Saturday).
The Cheetahs struck early for a five-point lead, but the Sharks fought back through the kicking boot of Lambie, who penalised the hosts for their infringements, recording seven out of seven kicks at goal.
“We always new it would be tough playing the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein,” Steyn said.
“It will be the same with the Stormers next week at Kings Park, but we got the victory and with that some good momentum.”
Cheetahs skipper Adriaan Strauss admitted there was still plenty of work to be done, but lauded his troops for coming back from a 23-5 deficit to within striking distance.
“We had a good start, but started to give away too many penalties,” Strauss said.
“We had some good stanzas of play and even looked dangerous late in the second half, but we couldn't convert our momentum into a victory.”
The Cheetahs now embark on their overseas tour. They play reigning champions the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday. – Sapa