Cape Town - Defending champions Western Province were edged 23-24 by the Sharks in an ill-disciplined second-round Vodacom Cup match in Cape Town on Saturday.
Both teams were on the receiving end of countless penalties and a red and yellow card after various infringements at the breakdown. The Cape-side finished the game with 13 players on the park, while the men from KwaZulu-Natal had 14 players left at the end of the match.
The Sharks outscored the Province by three tries to two, but the kicking boot of WP-flyhalf Gary van Aswegen kept his team in the game until the final whistle.
Sharks veteran-fullback Riaan Viljoen scored the winning try in the dying seconds of the game with flyhalf Fred Zeilinga converting to give the Sharks the one-point win. The win means the Sharks top the Southern section of the competition after round two.
The Sharks, who played with a slight breeze behind their back in the first half, kept WP pinned in their half and starved the Cape-side of possession during the opening minutes of the game.
WP flyhalf Gary van Aswegen opened the scoring after 20 minutes converting a penalty after the Sharks captain and centre Marius Joubert was penalised for slowing the ball at the breakdown.
Joubert was subsequently shown a yellow card for the infringement.
The Sharks scored the first try through winger Sbura Sithole after stretching the defence of WP. Sithole dove over in the right-corner to put his side ahead. Zeilinga converted from the touchline to add the extra two points.
Van Aswegen kept his side in the game with a penalty and a dropgoal, retaking the lead 9-7 for a brief period of play.
Sharks left-winger Sizo Maseko scored the second try with Zeilinga again converting from the touchline.
Trailing 9-14 at the break, WP came out a different team in the second half and played more like champions.
Two tries brought the home-side back in to contention. They outscored the Sharks 14-10 but the late try by Viljoen and the subsequent conversion took the win from their hands.
Western Province – Tries: Michael van der Spuy. Rayn Smid. Conversions: Gary van Aswegen (2). Penalty: Van Aswegen (2). Dropgoal: Van Aswegen.
Sharks: Tries: Sbura Sithole, Sizo Maseko, Riaan Viljoen. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga (3). Penalty: Zeilinga.
Red cards: Dyland Rogers (WP), Allan Dell (Sharks) Yellow cars: Marius Joubert (Sharks), Hendrik Ferreira (WP).