Currie Cup leaders the Golden Lions retained their unbeaten status after notching a 26-18 victory over the Sharks in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Despite heading in to this game as favourites, things didn't always go according to plan for the Golden Lions and they had to wait until the 60th minute before they scored their opening try.
Both sides deserve credit for making it an entertaining spectacle as they ran the ball from all areas of the field but, in the end, the Lions finished stronger and claimed a deserved win.
The opening half was a cagey affair highlighted by excellent defence from both sides. Marnitz Boshoff opened the scoring for the Lions via a penalty in the 28th minute, but Joe Pietersen drew the visitors level five minutes later when he also slotted a three-pointer from the kicking tee.
Boshoff added another penalty in the 37th minute which meant the home side held a slender 6-3 lead at the interval.
The second half started similarly to the opening period with both sides showing plenty of promise on attack, but cancelling each other out with solid defensive efforts.
Boshoff and Pietersen traded further penalties and the game came alive on the hour mark when Lourens Erasmus got over for the opening try. This after the rookie lock ran onto a pass from Howard Mnisi inside the Sharks' 22 and shrugged off two challenges before diving over.
The Lions had their tails up now and five minutes later Courtnall Skosan got over for their second try after Stokkies Hanekom laid the groundwork in the build-up.
To their credit, the Sharks didn't surrender and crossed for two late tries. Pietersen got the first one in the 76th minute and Francois Kleinhans showed a tremendous turn of speed, two minutes later, before getting in for their second score, but by then the Lions had already sealed their victory.
For Golden Lions:
Tries: Erasmus, Skosan
Cons: Boshoff 2
Pens: Boshoff 4
Tries: Pietersen, Kleinhans
Pens: Pietersen 2
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Fabian Booysen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Jaco Kriel (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Lourens Erasmus, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Ruan Dreyer.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 MB Lusaseni, 19 Stephan de Witt, 20 Jaco van der Walt, 21 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Anthony Volmink.
Sharks: 15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 Wandile Mjekevu, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 S'bura Sithole, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Dave McDuling, 19 Daniel du Preez, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Heimar Williams, 22 Garth April.
Referee: Jaco van Heerden