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Cheetahs suffer Shark bite
Five points keep Sharks' play-off hopes alive
The Coastal Sharks kept their Super 14 semi-final hopes alive with a 33-14 win over the Central Cheetahs in Durban Saturday.
Two late tries by winger Odwa Ndungane secured the vital bonus point for the Sharks, keeping them in contention for a last four place going into the final round of matches next week.
Flanker Jacques Botes scored a hat trick for the home side as they moved into fourth place in the table with 37 points.
Botes opened the scoring in the 14th minute after lock Albert van den Berg won the lineout and set up the drive to the line.
Rory Kockott added the extras and minutes later Botes scored his second, with Kockott again on target to take the score to 14-0.
Moments before the end of the first period though, and against the run of play, the visitors opened their account, winger Jongi Nokwe crossing and Conrad Barnard's kick making it 14-7 at the break.
The Sharks continued to dominate after the restart and after just a few minutes were rewarded with their third try.
Frans Steyn found JP Pietersen with a long skip pass out on the wing. He in turn fed Botes who was charging through on his inside to touch down for his hat-trick.
The visitors hit back with 15 minutes remaining when centre Meyer Bosman caught Sharks No 8 Kankowski napping at the back of a ruck.
The big midfielder picked up the ball and dashed over the line for an easy score and the kick by replacement Tewis de Bruyn closed the gap to just five points.
But it was Ndungane who would have the last word, grabbing two at the death to ensure the Sharks a vital win.
They now meet high-flying Waikato Chiefs next weekend, in what looks to be a semi-final deciding game.
Captain AJ Venter said: "We live to fight another day. It wasn't easy, but we got the five points and that's all that matters."