Durban - A rare 80-minute effort has earned the Sharks a valuable 26-15 victory over the Blue Bulls on their home-ground in Pretoria on Saturday, according to coach Brad Macleod-Henderson.
"We knew it was going to take an 80-minute effort and we played for 80 minutes, and it was great to see that the guys kept on getting off the ground and making their tackles," Macleod-Henderson said after the match.
"Loftus has a huge amount of history and tradition and they're a proud rugby franchise so we are just fortunate that today went our way."
The result launched the coastal side into Currie Cup contention as they occupy third place on the log on 20 points.
With only three rounds left before the playoffs, the defeat dealt the Bulls' semi-final hopes a serious blow.
Lying in sixth place and six points behind the Sharks, the Light Blues still have a slight mathematical chance of advancing to the next round.
Bulls mentor Frans Ludeke said it was an unfortunate blow to their campaign after they had shown signs of resurgence.
"You don't want to lose at home especially after you've built some positive momentum with good victories," Ludeke said.
"I felt that we've played good rugby over the last few weeks." Traditionally one of their sharpest weapons, the Bulls' lineout turned into weakness which the Sharks used to their advantage.
"In the first half I thought we were in control in a lot of the facets and they scored that try just before half-time, which was a big turning point for them," Ludeke said.
"In the second half we completely lost the pressure we built in the lineouts.
"We almost totally lost one of our strengths to create penalties and momentum from that. But you could see their confidence starting to grow from that set-piece."
Macleod-Henderson said the Bulls' lineout woes were a major coup for his team while his charges did well to build the pressure.
"We obviously kept the scoreboard ticking over which put the Bulls under pressure," Macleod-Henderson said.
"It was a huge bonus for us -- the Bulls have a very strong maul and to deny them the opportunity not only in the lineout, but to deprive them of the opportunity to do what they are really good at."