Cape Town - The Sharks on Saturday beat the Pumas 27-26 in their Currie Cup clash at Kings Park in Durban.
The Durbanites were in real danger losing to the men from Mpumalanga for the third Currie Cup match in succession, having lost 33-24 in Nelspruit earlier this year, as well as last season.
The Pumas led 13-10 at the break and enjoyed a 26-17 lead in the 66th minute of the game, before a 69th minute try from Sharks wing Wandile Mjekevu - his second on the day - put the hosts back in contention.
Sharks fullback Joe Pietersen kicked a 76th minute penalty to hand the Durbanites a slender 27-26 lead which they held until full-time.
The Pumas had a chance to sneak a win at the death and replacement fullback Justin van Staden thought he had won the game when he cantered over in the corner, only for touch judge Jason Jaftha to call the players back for a foot in touch.
The Pumas had a another chance after the hooter had sounded, but Van Staden’s drop attempt was charged down, after scrumhalf Faf de Klerk took too long with his clearance.
The Pumas will be proud of their efforts at scrum time - an area which they dominated with Springbok Vincent Koch aiding them greatly.
The second half introduction of Thomas du Toit helped the Sharks negate some of that Pumas dominance.
Both teams lost players to yellow cards, with Sharks scrumhalf Cobus Reinach sin-binned in the 26th minute, while Pumas lost hooker Jacques Momberg in the 43rd minute when his boot caught the face of Reinach at a ruck.
Momberg was perhaps lucky not to receive a red card, but video evidence of a direct and deliberate stamp was not clear.
The Sharks showed great composure to eke out a win, but they will have to improve markedly if they are to mount a serious challenge for the title.
Mjekevu was named man-of-the-match for scoring a brace of tries.
In next weekend’s action, the Sharks host Western Province in Durban, while the Pumas travel to Kimberley to face Griquas.
Tries: Wandile Mjekevu (2), Paul Jordaan
Conversions: Joe Pietersen (3)
Penalties: Pietersen (2)
Tries: Marius Coetzer, JW Bell
Conversions: JC Roos, Van Staden
Penalties: Roos (2), Van Staden (2)
15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Wandile Mjekevu, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. S'bura Sithole, 10. Lionel Cronje, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Philip van der Walt, 7. Daniel du Preez, 6. Francois Kleinhans, 5. Marco Wentzel (captain), 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2. Monde Hadebe, 1. Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Thomas du Toit, 18. JC Astle, 19. Jean-Luc du Preez, 20. Stefan Ungerer, 21. Heimar Williams, 22. Garth April
15 John-Wessel Bell, 14 Bernado Botha, 13 Hoffmann Maritz, 12 Stefan Watermeyer (captain), 11 Rosko Speckman, 10 Juan-Claude Roos, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jason-Colin Fraser, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Jaco Bouwer, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Rudi Mathee, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Jacques Momberg, 1 Corne Fourie.
Substitutes: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Khwezi Mona, 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Justin van Staden, 22 Jerome Pretorius