Johannesburg - Fighting off a spirited comeback by the Sharks, Pumas coach MJ Mentz was a relieved man following his side's 33-24 Absa Currie Cup victory in Nelspruit on Friday.
"We had a very good first half but unfortunately we didn't have the same tempo and ball continuity in the second half," Mentz said.
"But I'll take a victory over the Sharks any day."
It's the second consecutive year that the Mpumalanga side have disposed of their more distinguished opponents.
The home side romped to a 27-7 lead at the half-time break thanks to a five-pointer by captain Stefan Watermeyer and a brace by Marnus Schoeman.
The visitors fought back valiantly in the second half scoring two tries courtesy of Heimar Williams and Daniel du Preez, adding to Lionel Cronje's effort in the first stanza.
"Our replacements came onto the field at the right time when we needed some fresh legs when they got back into the game," Mentz said.
"Unfortunately we made unforced errors that brought them back into the game."
The Pumas managed to keep the Sharks out with flyhalf JC Roos slotting a penalty at the death to seal the victory.
Sharks director of rugby Gary Gold bemoaned his side’s poor first half and the fact they conceded too much ball.
"It's obviously very disappointing to have lost here against a very good Pumas team," Gold said.
"They are not Vodacom Cup champions for nothing and to beat the Lions and Province away to win the competition was a fantastic feat.
"I suppose I am proud off the way the guys came back in the second half and gave ourselves the chance to win the game and we obviously came up short."
The defeat could yet come at a further price for the KwaZulu-Natal side with props Lourens Adriaanse (shoulder) and Thomas du Toit (ankle) suffering injuries along with flank Jean-Luc du Preez.