A late fight back from the Sharks, which saw three tries scored within six minutes, secured the visitors a stunning 25-13 win over the Cheetahs in a Currie Cup match in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Centre Pat Lambie was in superb form, scoring 20 of the Sharks’ points including a brace of tries, and the 19-year-old played a huge role in lifting them to second place on the log.
The Sharks made mistakes that cost them dearly in the first half, with the scrum giving away three penalties and sloppy defence allowing Cheetahs scrum-half Tewis de Bruyn to dot down the only try of the opening stanza.
Lambie and Cheetahs flyhalf Louis Strydom both fluffed opportunities to put their sides ahead from penalty kicks in the first 10 minutes, with Lambie missing left and Strydom dropping a long range effort short of the crossbar.
Lambie wasted another penalty midway through the half and Strydom fluffed one in extra time, but both players had successful attempts to give their sides three points a piece.
De Bruyn, however, gave the hosts a 10-3 lead at the break after catching the Sharks defence napping in the 33rd minute.
Having spent some time in the sin bin after being shown a yellow card, De Bruyn made up for his absence just eight minutes after he returned to the field. Taking a quick tap kick, he stole through a huge gap to score, and Strydom converted to ensure the home side took a seven-point lead in to the break.
In the 47th minute Strydom stretched the gap even further with an easy penalty kick, but Lambie kept the visitors in the hunt with a successful penalty of his own two minutes later, closing the gap to 13-6.
And with nine minutes remaining in regular time, Sharks replacement Eugene van Staden barged over to give his side a vital five points.
Lambie, however, sent the conversion wide to leave them trailing by two at 13-11.
Five minutes later some great team work from the Sharks saw them taking the lead for the first time in the match.
Eighth man Ryan Kankowski received the ball in the Sharks 22 and after a blinding run down the left wing, followed by some sharp work from Lwazi Mvovo, Lambie went over. He converted his own try and the Sharks were suddenly in control.
A minute later they hammered the nail even further in the Cheetahs’ coffin when another superb effort from Mvovo cleared the way for Lambie to score his second try. And while the teenager missed with the conversion attempt, he had done enough to secure his side the win.
Tries: Tewis de Bruyn.
Conversions: Louis Strydom.
Penalties: Strydom (2).
Tries: Eugene van Staden, Pat Lambie (2).
Conversions: Lambie (2).
Penalties: Lambie (2).