The Sharks ran in five tries to defeat the Golden Lions 33-29 in their pre-season warm-up in Pietermaritzburg on Friday.
The hosts trailed 24-19 after the hour mark, but scored two converted tries in the last quarter of the match to end their Currie Cup preparations on a winning note.
Two tries, including a self-converted effort by flyhalf Joe Pietersen, gave the Sharks a 12-7 lead early on, before Courtnall Skosan's intervention. The wing bagged a brace in quick succession to put the Johannesburg-based team ahead, with flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff adding both conversions for a 21-12 advantage at half-time.
Gary Gold made 13 changes to the Sharks' lineup after the interval and it paid dividends as they were awarded a penalty try to make it a three-point game. Boshoff added a penalty goal to his side's tally, but tries from Stefan Ungerer and S'bura Sithole put the Sharks 33-24 up. The match was rounded off with a late score by the Lions.
The Sharks will play their first Currie Cup match away to the Pumas on 7 August, while the Lions travel to Port Elizabeth for their opener against the EP Kings on 8 August.
Sharks – Tries: Joe Pietersen, Charlie Mayeza, penalty try, Stefan Ungerer, S’bura Sithole. Conversions: Pietersen, Lionel Cronjé (3).
Golden Lions – Tries: Joe Booya, Courtnall Skosan (2), TBC. Conversions: Maritz Boshoff (3). Penalty: Boshoff.
Natal Sharks – 15 SP Marais, 14 Charles Mayeza, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Alcino Izaacs, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Khaya Majola, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Monde Hadebe, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Subs: 16 Juan Schoeman, 17 Franco Marais, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Wiehan Hay, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Francois Kleinhans, 22 Dave McDuling, 23 Christiaan de Bruin, 24 Stefan Ungerer, 25 Lionel Cronjé, 26 S'bura Sithole, 27 Heimar Williams, 28 Wandile Mjekevu, 29. Odwa Ndungane, 30 Garth April, 31 Gerhard Engelbrecht, 32 JC Astle, 33 Tonderai Chavhanga.
Golden Lions – Justin Ackerman, Fabian Booysen, Marnitz Boshoff, Ruan Combrinck, Ross Cronje, Stephan de Wit, Ruan Dreyer, Lourens Erasmus, Stokkies Hanekom, Alwyn Hollenbach, Lohan Jacobs, Jaco Kriel (c), Ruaan Lerm, MB Lusaseni, Malcolm Marx, Sampie Mastriet, Howard Mnisi, Martin Muller, Jacques Nel, Mark Pretorius, Julian Redelinghuys, Ricky Schroeder, Courtnall Skosan, Kwagga Smith, Jaco van der Walt, Jacques van Rooyen, Anthony Volmink, Harold Vorster, Vainon Willis.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images