The Sharks overcame a 13-point deficit to claim a 24-20 win over the EP Kings in PE on Saturday, CRAIG LEWIS reports.
It was a crucial win for the Sharks, who came into the game with two losses and just one win from the start of their campaign, but their poor form remains a cause for concern.
The Kings capitalised on an early error from Sharks flyhalf Lionel Cronjé to snatch possession and put blindside flanker Thembelani Bholi away for an early try.
Dale Chadwick was then penalised at a scrum, enabling Van Breda to take the Kings into a handy 10-0 lead, while the fullback added another three-pointer in the 32nd minute.
The Sharks made a brave decision just before half-time to kick for the corner, and it paid off as fullback Joe Pietersen went over for a try he converted himself, reducing the deficit to six points at the break.
The visitors hit back with a try by Francois Kleinhans in the 48th minute, which Pietersen converted to give them the lead for the first time.
Young Dan du Preez powered over just before the hour mark as the Sharks secured an eight-point buffer before a penalty from Pietersen took the Durban side into a 24-13 lead.
The Kings received a late lifeline when they were awarded a penalty try in the 75th minute, with Sharks wing S'bura Sithole receiving a yellow card after a high tackle that prevented a certain hosts' try.
Ultimately, the Sharks were able to hold on for an unconvincing win.
EP Kings – Tries: Thembelani Bholi, penalty try. Conversions: Scott van Breda (2). Penalties: Van Breda (2)
Sharks – Tries: Joe Pietersen, Francois Kleinhans, Dan du Preez. Conversions: Pietersen (3). Penalty: Pietersen.
EP Kings – 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 JP du Plessis, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Luke Watson (c), 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Schalk Ferreira, 17 Edgar Marutlulle, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Stefan Willemse, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Dwayne Kelly, 22 Hansie Graaff.
Sharks – 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 S'bura Sithole, 10 Lionel Cronjé, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Dan du Preez, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2 Monde Hadebe, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Subs: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 JC Astle, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Stefan Ungerer, 21 Wandile Mjekevu, 22 Garth April.
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images