The Sharks claimed their first win of the 2012 Super Rugby season on Saturday with a 32-20 victory over the Lions in Durban.
Tries from Riaan Viljoen, Lwazi Mvovo, Meyer Bosman and Jacques Botes saw the Sharks bag a bonus point with their last touchdown coming in the 80th minute of a cut-and-thrust encounter.
The Lions replied with tries from full-back Jaco Taute and replacement forward Ruan Dreyer who joined the bench as one of two late changes to the visitors, who were without fly-half Elton Janties.
The result sees the Sharks climb to ninth in the overall table - level with the Waratahs - after claiming losing bonus points in their first two games against the Bulls and Stormers.
Viljoen and Mvovo crossed in the first half to give the hosts a 17-6 lead at the interval, before Bosman and replacement Botes secured a full five-points.
In what was a tense affair, the Lions were in the game until the death when they conceded the telling try.
John Mitchell's men were penalised inside the opening 90 seconds for not rolling away at the ruck, but Patrick Lambie's 50-metre attempt faded wide.
At the other end, Butch James had an immediate chance to score against his former side when the home defence were caught off their feet trying to defend allowing the fly-half to coolly slot over.
The Sharks were finally on the board in the 23rd minute when a high tackle from Joshua Strauss on JP Pietersen was spotted by the assistant allowing Lambie to level matters.
Mvovo came close four minutes later, but was caught when the ball was spread wide to him on the left.
The hosts finally had their break-through on the half-hour mark when Viljoen's up-and-under bounced kindly to take out the last defender Taute, with the former Griquas man regathering and diving over unmarked in the left corner.
Lambie added the conversion from a tight angle, before the Lions hit back via another James penalty, awarded for off-side with the Lions coming within metres of scoring.
With half-time looming, Lambie landed a fine kick over the Lions defence to set up a line-out on the right. Bismarck du Plessis excellently managed the steal after the ball was not gathered cleanly, with the ball subsequently spun across to the other end where Mvovo dived in.
Lambie converted to give the hosts an 11-point lead at the interval.
It took almost 18 minutes for the first points to come after the restart and they arrived when Lambie slotted in an off-side penalty.
But the Lions then caught the Sharks napping with Taute capitalising on quick hands in attack to score on the right side of the post. James' conversion cut the gap to seven points.
However, with nine minutes remaining Pietersen spotted a gap in defence and did most of the work as he offloaded to Tim Whitehead, who played in Bosman to score - Lambie again converting.
Again there was an answer from the visitors with Ruaan Dreyer on the end of a push-over score, converted by James, to set up a tense finish.
But Botes managed to get over on the right to wrap up the win.
"Hats off to the guys, they showed a lot of character," said Sharks captain Keegan Daniel after the final whistle.
"It wasn't clinical but the effort won us the game. We worked hard during the week and it was good to see that work pay off in the game. Last year's Currie Cup final was fresh in the minds so it was good to win today."
For the Sharks:
Tries: Viljoen, Mvovo, Bosman, Botes
Cons: Lambie 3
Pens: Lambie 2
For the Lions
Tries: Taute, Dreyer
Cons: James 2
Pens: James 2
Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Frederic Michalak, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Jannie du Plessis, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Paul Jordaan.
Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon Van Rensburg, 13 Doppies La Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Butch James, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Joshua Strauss (capt), 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Marius Coetzer, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Patric Cilliers.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Stephan Greef, 19 Cobus Grobbleaar, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Andries Coetzee, 20 James Kamana.
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)