Cape Town - They would have like the bonus point, but the Sharks looked comfortable in beating the Western Force 37-12 in a Super Rugby clash at Kings Park on Saturday.
The Durbanites scored four tries to the visitors' two, but this has strengthened their grip on second position in Africa Conference 2 behind the Lions and the wildcard playoff spot in the South African Group.
The Sharks launched some good attacks with Curwin Bosch instrumental once more and fullback Rhyno Smith making some entertaining runs, and while they struggled to finish off some of their opportunities they were the dominant side for most of the contest.
The Sharks took an early 3-0 lead via the boot of Bosch and the SA U-20 flyhalf then slotted his second penalty to make it 6-0 to after 10 minutes as an exciting run from Smith had broken the Force defence.
The Sharks looked the likeliest to score the first try of the day, and they thought they had done just that when a lethal counter-attack unleashed debutant Sbu Nkosi, who side-stepped and dived over the line to start the celebrations.
Referee Rasta Rasivhenge wasn't convinced though, and replays confirmed that Bosch had knocked on in the build-up.
The Force, against the run of play, then rocked the Sharks when wing James Verity-Amm finished off a well-worked backline move from a scrum to score.
7-6 down, the Sharks looked to hit back immediately and again thought they had scored - this time through Dan du Preez - before Rasivhenge penalised them for an infringement at the maul.
It got frustratingly scrappy for a while after that as the Sharks turned down a couple of kicks at goal in pursuit of a try, and they had their chances boosted when Force no 13 Curtis Rona was sin-binned for a cynical offsides.
That moment would hurt the Force.
The Sharks finally had their try when, from the resulting lineout, the ball went out left where Jeremy Ward straightened and crashed over next to the posts.
They scored their second immediately afterwards as Jean-Luc du Preez went over, giving the Sharks a 20-7 lead at half time.
Another Bosch penalty stretched the Sharks lead to 23-7 10 minutes into the second half.
The Force were trying to build some momentum, but a combination of poor discipline and missed tackles meant that the Sharks were always in the ascendancy.
The killer blow came on 54 minutes when some neat football skills from Ward and Bosch saw the Sharks secure their third try.
Ward did really well to kick a lose ball ahead that hugged the left-hand touchline. Bosch was first to reach it, and he kicked ahead again before gathering and diving over the line.
He knocked over the conversion to make it 30-7 and was then replaced by the returning Patrick Lambie, who last played in week three before he fractured a vertebra.
It is the last time the Sharks will see Bosch until June 30 as he now turns his attention to the U-20 World Rugby Championship in Georgia.
The Force also went to their bench to provide a familiar face as Maritzburg College product Peter Grant came on at flyhalf.
The visitors hit back through Marcel Brache on 68 minutes, but Lukhanyo Am scored immediately afterwards to restore the Sharks' comfortable lead.
It left Robert du Preez's men with a little under 10 minutes to secure a bonus point try, but they spent most of that time defending as the Force camped themselves in Sharks territory.
The Sharks will travel to Port Elizabeth next weekend to take on the Kings while the Force are in Argentina to play the Jaguares.
Sharks 37 (20)
Tries: Jeremy Ward, Jean-Luc du Preez, Curwin Bosch,. Lukhanyo Am
Conversions: Curwin Bosch (3), Pat Lambie
Penalties: Bosch (3)
Force 12 (7)
Tries: James Verity-Amm, Marcel Brache
Conversion: Ian Prior
15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Jeremy Ward, 11 Sbu Nkosi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt (captain), 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit
Substitutes: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Beast Mtawarira, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Johan Deysel
15 Marcel Brache, 14 James Verity-Amm, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Isireli Naisarani, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Tetara Faulkner, 2 Tatafu Polata-Nau, 1 Pek Cowan
Substitutes: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Francios van Wyk, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Lewis Carmichael, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Mitchell Short, 22 Luke Burton, 23 Peter Grant