Cape Town - The Lions defeated a tryless Sharks 24-9 in Saturday's highly anticipated Super Rugby clash at King's Park.
The home side grew increasingly frustrated with referee Angus Gardner as the match progressed, but in truth it was a woeful display from Gary Gold's men that was characterised by a lack of discipline and unforced errors.
The result means that the Lions move to the top of the second African conference ahead of the Sharks.
Elton Jantjies led the way with a 14-point haul for the visitors, via a conversion and four penalties, and the men from Johannesburg outscored the Sharks two tries to none with Andries Ferreira and Lionel Mapoe crossing the whitewash.
The home side were fastest out of the blocks and were on the attack from the kick-off. They were soon camped inside the Lions' 22 and it took a brilliant tackle from Courtnall Skosan to prevent Willie le Roux from scoring the opening try as early as the third minute.
Five minutes later the Lions thought they had opened the scoring when Jaco Kriel went over the whitewash, after running onto an inside pass from Ruan Combrinck, but, after checking with the Television Match Official, referee Gardner ruled that a pass from Jantjies to Combrinck in the build-up had gone forward.
The Lions didn't let that setback deter them, however, and shortly afterwards Ferreira opened the scoring when he barged over from close quarters under the posts.
Jantjies added the extras and soon increased the visitors led from the kicking tee, after Coenie Oosthuizen was penalised for a scrum infringement.
The Lions continued to dominate and Jantjies made it 13-0 with another three-pointer from the kicking tee, before the Sharks opened their account via a Joe Pietersen penalty on the half-hour mark.
The Lions went further ahead in the 36th minute when Mapoe showed great determination and a fine appreciation of the game's laws when, after wriggling free from an attempted tackle from Andre Esterhuizen, he got up and dived over for his side's second try.
The Sharks were then awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time which Pietersen duly converted which mant the Lions led 18-6 at the interval.
The second half was a cagey affair with the Sharks trying their best to narrow the gap but their attacking efforts were thwarted by a solid defensive effort from the Lions.
Pietersen and Jantjies traded penalties shortly after the restart which meant the Lions led 21-6 by the 45th minute.
The next 15 minutes offered little excitement with another Jantjies penalty in the 67th minute the only other points scored during the rest of the match.
The Lions needed another try to secure their bonus point but although they had a couple of chances to do so, poor finishing and unforced errors meant they fell short of achieving that goal.
The Sharks will also be concerned over the well-being of loose forward Marcell Coetzee, who left the field towards the end of the first half with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.
Penalties: Joe Pietersen (3)
Tries: Andries Ferreira, Lionel Mapoe
Conversion: Elton Jantjies
Penalties: Jantjies (4)
15. Willie le Roux, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Joe Pietersen, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Daniel du Preez, 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Hyron Andrews, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Franco Marais, 1. Tendai Mtawarira (captain)
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Lubalalo Mtyanda, 20. Keegan Daniel, 21. Michael Claassens, 22. Garth April, 23. Odwa Ndungane
15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylon Smith
Substitutes: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Ruan Ackermann, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Andries Coetzee