Port Elizabeth - The Southern Kings scored a scintillating 50-24 win over a Sharks XV in a friendly at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday evening.
Fielding a new-look combination the Kings scored eight tries against a Sharks XV which did not include any of their Super Rugby squad, because they will be in action against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
There was a frenzied start to the game and after Fred Zeilinga nailed a penalty to put his team 3-0 ahead after just under two minutes the Kings hit back with a well-worked try.
Thanks to strong lineout play by Aussie lock Steven Cummins the Kings mauled the ball over the tryline with skipper Luke Watson dotting down.
But the Kings' lead was short-lived and the Sharks struck back with a try of their own by former Springbok Jongi Nokwe after the visitors spread the ball wide.
There was a setback for the Kings after 20 minutes when Watson left the field with what appeared to be a hip and ankle injury.
Showing good patience and going through several phases the Kings scored their second try when powerful centre Shane Gates burst through the Sharks defence to put his team on level terms at 10-10 after 24 minutes.
The Kings then ran the Sharks ragged with a series of backline moves which had the visitors defence working overtime to stem the tide of red and black jerseys.
Forward Shaun McDonald, who came on for Watson, did not take long to stamp his authority on the game and he powered his way over the Sharks tryline to put the Kings ahead 17-10 after 34 minutes.
Just before the break flank Thembelani Bholi brought the crowd to their feet with a bullocking run of 40 metres to score which enabled his team to enjoy a commanding 26-10 lead at the break.
The second half started with the Kings rampaging forward McDonald driving his way through the Sharks defence for his second try of the evening.
Not long afterwards Gates was over for his second try after more free-flowing rugby.
There were also second half tries for Tom Botha and Siyanda Grey as the Kings exerted their dominance.
Down 38-10, the Sharks clawed their way back with tries from Sizo Maseko and Quentin Crocker after the Kings lost their focus after the earlier try feast.
Tries: Shane Gates (2), Shaun McDonald (2), Luke Watson, Thembelani Bholi, Tom Botha, Siyanda Grey
Conversions: Gary van Aswegen (4), Scott van Breda
Tries: Jongi Nokwe, Sizo Meseko, Quentin Crocker
Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (2), Jean Luck Du Plessis