Free State was just too good for the Sharks in the final game of Day 1 when they beat them 46-19. The game was much closer than the scoreboard reflects but Free State took their opportunities to score some brilliant tries.
The Sharks started the game looking impressive putting a lot of pressure on the Free State.
They were first to score when Makahaza went over and took the lead of 7-0 early on.
The Cheetahs hit back with Venter bashing over the line to reduce the lead to 7-5 minutes later.
It was a frantic start from both sides as they try to spread the ball at every opportunity to score tries. The Sharks still had a bit of the upper hand and had more ball in hand at that moment.
The Sharks had to defend a bit against some great attacks being launched by Free State and even try a long range kick to put some points on the board.
Free State had a breakaway try with Botha breaking away from a turnover as he almost run 60 meters for his side second try.
With that Free State too the lead 12-7 after 24 minutes.
The Sharks stroke back immediately with Nkonki scoring on his birthday. This gave them the lead back at 14-12.
It was one for you and one for me as Jonker got over for Free State after a mistake from the Sharks from the kickoff. This turned the lead back to Free State at 17-14 after 28 minutes of the first half.
Free State camped on the Sharks line and Botha finally got over to extend there lead as halftime approaches.
With the successful conversion Free State extended the lead to 24-14.
The Sharks put the phases together again and it was Hendrikse that got the gab and went over. He converted could not convert his own try which saw Free State lead 24-19.
It was a brilliant start to the half for Free State as Lintnaar got a ball from Small-Smith to get over. They extend the lead to 31-19 after 38 minutes.
As it has gone throughout the match the Sharks was next to score when Van Huizen worked his way over. This reduce the lead again to only 31-24.
Free State scored another one when Cronje got over but it was referred to the TMO. The TMO could not found anything wrong with it as Free State extended the lead again to 38-24.
Free State was starting to look more in control of the match with the Sharks having there hands full on their attacks.
With Free State camping again on the Sharks line they were pushed back every time on defence by the Sharks and eventually decided to take a shot at the stick which Du Plessis knocked over.
This took their lead to 41-24.
Free State lost another man to the bin for a high tackle which gave the Sharks a great opportunity to attack but Free State was up to it in defence.
Small-Smith followed up a kick ahead and got to the ball before the ball went dead which extended the lead to 46-24.
That brought an end to the game with both sides able to feel proud of their efforts in this game. The scoreline is not even close to how close this game was with Free State taking their opportunities better.