DURBAN, South Africa (AP) — The Sharks consolidated their lead at the top of the Super Rugby table as they beat the Cheetahs 19-8 in a drab South African derby on Saturday.

Just six points were scored in the first half of a game that was short on quality, and Francois Steyn's three penalties proved decisive after both sides registered a try apiece in the second period.

Although Rayno Benjamin's try for the Cheetahs in the 65th minute suggested the game was headed towards a tight conclusion, Jean Deysel crossed for the Sharks five minutes later to put the outcome to bed.

The victory gave the Sharks a six-point lead over the Brumbies at the top of the standings, while the Cheetahs remained in the bottom two.

Initially, both sides showed a willingness to attack, but poor execution brought regular turnovers and a sum total of a penalty apiece in the first half - although Tim Swiel missed two straightforward penalty attempts for the Sharks.

That led Steyn to take up the kicking duties after the interval and he duly gave the hosts a six-point lead after the visitors committed two transgressions in the scrum.

As the game went into the final quarter, Steyn extended that lead after Heinrich Brussow was penalised and sent to the sin-bin for using his hands in a Sharks ruck that was meters from the Cheetahs tryline.

However, the Cheetahs hit back out of nowhere when Steyn's clearance from inside his 22 was charged down to gift Benjamin a simple try and leave the game delicately poised at 12-8 in favor of the Sharks.

Deysel ensured there would be no thrilling finish though, as he drove over from short range to score his first Super Rugby try in his 60th game.


Sharks 19 (Jean Deysel try; Francois Steyn conversion, 3 penalties, Tim Swiel penalty), Cheetahs 8 (Rayno Benjamin try, Elgar Watts penalty). HT: 3-3.