Johannesburg - The Sharks XV secured a bonus-point 43-27 victory over the Boland Cavaliers outfit in their Vodacom Cup encounter in Ceres, to regain their position at the summit of the South Section standings, on Saturday.
The men from the Boland quickly raced into a 13-0 lead in the first half to raise hopes of an unlikely upset, but the visitors maintained their composure to score four second-half tries and secure a relatively comfortable win in the end.
Having earlier been knocked off their perch by the Free State XV, who thrashed the Border Bulldogs 54-17 in the lunch-time kick-off, the Durban-based side will be relieved to restore their one-point lead at the top of the log with the playoffs fast approaching.
For the Cavaliers, it proved to be another day of disappointment, as they once again showcased heart but were unable to take anything from the game, and remain second from bottom with just five points.
Fullback Eric Zana had earlier got things underway with a seventh-minute penalty, and veteran winger Danwel Demas then consolidated the home side's advantage with a fine score six minutes later.
Zana made no mistake with the conversion, and his ensuing penalty in the 16th minute meant the Cavaliers had charged out into a surprise 13-point lead.
A clearly-rattled Sharks XV were in need of an instant reply, and full-back Jaco van Tonder duly obliged, as he dotted down in the 19th minute to narrow the deficit.
Flyhalf Tim Swiel then added a penalty five minutes later, but Arno Fortuin's 30th minute try once again put the pressure on the visitors as the lead went out to 20-8.
However, flank Keegan Daniel made a crucial score shortly before half time, and it gave the Sharks great impetus going into the second stanza.
Winger Sizo Maseko ramped up the pressure on the hosts 14 minutes after the restart with a beautifully-worked try, and substitute Tian Meyer crossed the whitewash shortly after the hour mark to give the Sharks a nine-point advantage and an invaluable bonus point.
The rampant visitors showed no signs of relent as Swiel himself got in the try-scorers' column, before Daniel secured his brace in the 78th minute.
Fortuin scored his second of the afternoon on the stroke of full time, but it proved to be mere consolation as the Sharks marched off the pitch having re-established themselves as log leaders after a hard-fought win.
Boland Cavaliers: Tries: Damas, Fortuin (2); Conversions: Zana (2), Rust; Penalties: Zana (2).
Sharks XV: Tries: Van Tonder, Daniel (2), Maseko, Meyer, Swiel.; Conversions: Swiel (5); Penalties: Swiel.