Cape Town - The Sharks produced a strong second half performance to defeat the EP Kings 24-20 in their Absa Currie Cup Premier Division match at the Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
After trailing 13-7 at the break, the visitors dominated much of the second half, crossing for tries by Francois Kleinhans and Daniel du Preez, plus a penalty by Joe Pietersen, to forge a 24-13 lead with 20 minutes remaining.
However, the Kings never stopped fighting and a brilliant backline move saw centre Ronnie Cooke heading for the corner before a high tackle by Sibusiso Sithole stopped him just short of the tryline.
That resulted in a yellow card and a penalty try, and suddenly the Kings were back in it at 24-20 with five minutes remaining.
The Sharks, though, fought their way back into the Kings' half and had two penalty chances to seal the match, but failed to take them.
Finally getting their hands on the ball, the Kings launched a desperate attack from their own tryline, but it came unstuck on the halfway line with the final hooter having already blown.
The Kings made a flying start when an error at the back saw flank Thembelani Bholi take the final pass to open the scoring.
Fullback Scott van Breda added the conversion and two penalties as EP opened up a 13-0 lead after 31 minutes.
However, the Sharks scored a crucial try on the stroke of halftime through Pietersen, which he converted from the touchline, and then they upped the intensity of their play in the second half to take control.
EP Kings 20: tries by Thembelani Bholi, penalty try; two penalties and two conversions by Scott van Breda.
Sharks 24: tries by Joe Pietersen, Francois Kleinhans, Daniel du Preez; a penalty and three conversions by Pietersen.
Eastern Province Kings
15 Scott van Breda, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke (vice-captain), 12 JP du Plessis, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Luke Watson (captain), 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Substitutes: 16 Schalk Ferreira, 17 Edgar Marutlulle, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Stefan Willemse, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Dwayne Kelly, 22 Hansie Graaff
15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. S’bura Sithole, 10. Lionel Cronje, 9. Michael Claassens, 8. Philip van der Walt, 7. Daniel du Preez, 6. Francois Kleinhans, 5. Marco Wentzel (captain), 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2. Monde Hadebe, 1. Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Thomas du Toit, 18. JC Astle, 19. Jean-Luc du Preez, 20. Stefan Ungerer, 21. Wandile Mjekevu, 22. Garth April