Flyhalf Lionel Cronje kicked 15 points as the Sharks beat the Cheetahs at Kings Park on Friday night to extend their Currie Cup hot streak to five wins.
The 35-23 victory bumped the Sharks up to second place on the table, overtaking the Pumas who lost out to Western Province in Cape Town earlier on Friday.
In wet and slippery conditions, neither side was interested in throwing the ball around, instead opting to back the power of their packs. Cronje kicked a penalty before speedster Aphelele Fassi crossed the whitewash after some slick handling to open up a 10-0 lead after 15 minutes.
The first quarter ended with the Cheetahs reduced to 14 men after flanker Sibabalo Qoma was sent to the sin bin, but veteran scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar defied the disadvantage with a well-taken penalty.
Though the momentum shifted to the hosts when Alwayno Visagie dotted down, Qoma returned from the naughty chair and punctuated two Cronje penalties with a try as the Sharks took a 21-10 lead into the break.
Pienaar closed the gap by another three points after the restart but the Sharks replied with a try from scrumhalf Tiaan Fourie, Cronje adding the extras (28-13).
Another Pienaar penalty in the fourth quarter was negated when Sharks replacement hooker Dameon Venter went over off the back of a maul to clinch the bonus point, and Cronje added the extras to surpass 200 Currie Cup points (35-16).
The visitors grabbed a consolation try shortly before the hooter, replacement flanker Daniel Maartens scoring his sixth of the season from a driven lineout.
The Sharks finished the round on 38 log points, trailing the log-leading Cheetahs on points difference.
Photo: Steve Haag Sports/Gallo Images