The Sharks became the first South African team to win in Australasia this season with a 22-16 victory over the Rebels in Melbourne.
The Sharks became the first South African team to cross the Indian Ocean and win a game this season with a 22-16 victory over the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.
Once again, it wasn't pretty but Jake White's team got the job done with a JP Pietersen try around the hour mark proving the killer blow in a game littered with errors.
The Rebels replied via a try from replacement hooker Pat Leafa but the home side were playing catch-up rugby once the Sharks had put their noses in front shortly before the interval.
The result means the Sharks retain top spot in the overall standings having lots just two games this season.
The Sharks led 15-6 at the end of a try-less first half courtesy of five penalties from the boot of Frans Steyn.
The Rebels had dominated the territory and possession stats in the opening 40 minutes and had done most of the playing. But, true to form, the Sharks – the best defensive side in the competition – were able to take control on the scoreboard by pressuring their opponents into mistakes.
The trend continued after the break as the Rebels enjoyed over 63 percent of possession and the lion's share of territory but hardly threatened to score.
Jason Woodward's third penalty had cut the gap to 15-9 going into the third quarter when the visitors produced the first try of the game with a rare attack from inside their own half.
Springbok wings Lwazi Mvovo and Pietersen combined as Mvovo, who was playing at full-back, raced away from three defenders before passing to Pietersen, who cantered home untouched.
The Rebels profited from a momentum of inattention from the Sharks, who were finishing up a team chat when Bryce Hegarty took a quick tap before throwing a long pass to Leafa, who scored in the corner.
The hosts threw the kitchen sink at trying to find a late match-winning score but were unable to break down the tournament leaders' defence.
Pens: Woodward 3
Pens: Steyn 5
Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Male Sau, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Colby Fainga'a, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Cruze Ah-Nau.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Max Lahiff,18 Paul Alo-Emilie, 19 Hugh Pyle, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Nic Stirzaker, 22 Tom Kingston, 23 Angus Roberts.
Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (capt), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Keegan Daniel, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 SP Marais.
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
Television match official: Peter Marshall (Australia)