Patrick Lambie won the battle of the boot against Joe Pietersen on Saturday to give the Sharks a 12-6 victory over Western Stormers in a fiery Super 15 clash.
Springbok flyhalf Lambie succeeded with four of five penalty attempts at Kings Park, while fullback Pietersen planted both his penalty opportunities between the posts in the clash of South African titans.
Sharks continued a good start to the championship after a victory at Central Cheetahs last weekend.
It was the second successive loss for Stormers after an eight-point reverse at Northern Bulls the previous Saturday and it does not get any easier for them next weekend with title holders Waikato Chiefs playing in Cape Town.
The first half flew past without a single point, but the deadlock was finally broken two minutes into the second half when Lambie steered the ball just inside the left post.
Pietersen leveled from an angled 22m shot and later cut the deficit to three points after Lambie had slotted two more penalties for last year’s Super 15 runners-up.
Another Lambie penalty on the hour mark closed the scoring ahead of a tense finish.
Meanwhile, late tries by Jan Cook and Werner Kruger earned the Northern Bulls a bonus-point 36-26 victory over Western Force.
Force maintained a record of being difficult opponents for the three-time southern hemisphere champions with a gutsy showing, and led with nine minutes left.
Replacement flank Cook won a lineout just outside the 22 and retained possession in a driving maul all the way to the Force line for a try verified by the television match official.
Morne Steyn, who scored 21 points that included a 75-second try, converted to give Bulls a 29-26 advantage.
Another touchdown gave the home team a four-try bonus point and it came two minutes after the hooter when they ran a free-kick and prop Kruger barged over beside the posts, with Steyn adding the extra points.