The Sharks ended a six-game losing streak on Friday with a 21-14 victory over the Reds at Suncorp Stadium.
Inspired by the tireless efforts of their pack – especially impressive hooker Bismarck du Plessis – the visitors led from start to finish to bring a winning end to their four-game overseas tour.
Scrum-half Stefan Ungerer scored on either side of half time in a morale-boosting result, just their fifth win this season, as the Reds were punished for handing possession over too cheaply.
A huge effort from the Sharks back row saw them get the upper hand at the breakdown in a performance marked by their sheer determination to end a miserable run of results.
Both teams scored a try in the first half but the Sharks led 16-7 at the interval with Frans Steyn's big boot and accuracy from long range the difference between the sides.
Steyn opened the scoring for the visitors with an early penalty and they led 10-0 by the end of the first quarter thanks to a well-taken try from Ungerer.
The scrum-half used the forward momentum provided by a strong Sharks scrum to break clear, sell the defence a dummy and race home with the touchline conversion from Steyn capping a good start for the Durbanites.
The Reds replied soon thereafter though, counter-attacking from deep inside their own 22 with Samu Kerevi, Jake Schatz and Will Genia all handling the ball before Chris Kuridrani finished in the corner.
James O'Connor added the extras but Steyn kept the scoreboard ticking from the other end until half-time with two more penalties, including one from almost 50m.
The Reds were first to strike in the second half as Kerevi crashed over under the sticks with two defenders on his back after running onto a flat pass from Genia. O'Connor's second conversion of the night made it a two-point ball game going into the final quarter.
But it was a horrible error from the Reds full-back that handed Ungerer his second try in comical fashion. O'Connor fluffed a clearance kick, sending it straight into the breadbasket on the Sharks scrum-half, who had halted his charge-down run due to cramp and was just lucky to be in the perfect place at the right time.
Credit must be given to the Sharks for forcing the error with a period of sustained pressure and then for shutting the Reds down in the remaining 12 minutes to secure a much-needed win before heading home.
Tries: Kuridrani, Kerevi
Cons: O'Connor 2
Tries: Ungerer 2
Pens: Steyn 3
Reds: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Karmichael Hunt, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Chris Kuridrani, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper (c).
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Pettowa Paraka, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Lolo Fakaosilea, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Sam Greene, 23 Ben Tapuai.
Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 S'bura Sithole, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Etienne Oosthuizen, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Andre Esterhuizen.
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Referees: Matt O'Brien, Damien Mitchelmore
TMO: Peter Marshall