Durban - The Sharks needed a strong second-half performance to overcome a brave Pumas outfit 34-17 in their Currie Cup encounter at Kings Park on Friday night.
The coastal side, who trailed 7-6 at the break, secured four tries in the second 40 minutes thanks to SP Marais, Jacques Botes, Tera Mtembu and Monde Hadebe to claim the additional bonus-point score.
Their visitors had made a triumphant start to the competition when they upset the Free State Cheetahs last week and they threatened an upset once more after tries of their own through Frikkie Spies and Renaldo Bothma.
The men from Mpumalanga made a flying start to the game, crossing for the opening try after just four minutes. However, the Sharks only had themselves to blame as scrumhalf Cameron Wright failed to clear and lock Spies forced his way over after an attacking lineout.
The hosts hit back in the seventh minute when Fred Zeilinga kicked over the first points following a penalty that was conceded for collapsing the scrum.
They had further chances to tick the scoreboard over before the 15-minute mark as Odwa Ndungane was denied a try by the television match official for a foot in touch and Zeilinga missed a drop-goal attempt.
But the Sharks flyhalf made amends with a superb long-range penalty, awarded for holding on against the Pumas, that hit the crossbar on its way over.
Zeilinga then missed two kicks before half-time, enabling the Pumas to hold on to their 7-6 lead.
However, that changed 42 seconds into the second half when Marais collected a long pass from Zeilinga and dashed into the left corner.
Again the plucky Pumas refused to give in and they sliced the gap to three points moments later courtesy of a penalty from JC Roos after a penalty at the ruck.
Things got better for them in the 45th minute as Marco Wentzel was sent to the sin-bin after a yellow card for repeated infringements at the breakdown from his team-mates.
There was more joy for Jimmy Stonehouse's side in the 50th minute when No 8 Bothma grabbed a second try after escaping a Tonderai Chavanga tackle to dot down in the right corner.
Patrick Lambie, released by the Springboks earlier in the week, was then introduced in the 57th minute and within seconds of his arrival, the powerful Sharks pack mauled their way over for a second try through Botes, his 52nd Currie Cup score.
Nine minutes later Mtembu finally broke the shackles to give the Sharks some breathing space when he collected a lineout on the goal-line and took the ball over to extend the lead to 10 points.
And after JC Roos missed a long-range penalty, replacement hooker Hadebe went over the left corner after a quick lineout allowing the Sharks to close out a tough win.
Tries: SP Marais, Jacques Botes, Tera Mtembu, Monde Hadebe
Conversions: Fred Zeilinga, Patrick Lambie (3)
Penalties: Zeilinga (2)
Tries: Frikkie Spies, Renaldo Bothma
Conversions: Justin van Staden, JC Roos
15. SP Marais, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. S'bura Sithole, 12. Paul Jordaan, 11. Tonderai Chavhanga, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Cameron Wright 8. Tera Mtembu (captain), 7. Ettienne Oosthuizen, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. JC Astle, 3. Lourens Adriaanse, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Thomas du Toit
Substitutes: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17. Matt Stevens, 18. Johan Meyer, 19. Francois Kleinhans, 20. Hanco Venter, 21. Patrick Lambie, 22. Lionel Cronjé
15 JW Bell, 14 Ruwellyn Isbell, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosco Speckman, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Jaco Bouwer, 6 Corné Steenkamp (captain), 5 Giant Mtyanda, 4 Frikkie Spies, 3 DeJay Terblanche, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Vincent Koch
Substitutes: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Uzair Cassiem, 20 Snake Nyoka, 21 JC Roos, 22 Jerome Pretorius