Defending champions Western Province are still in search of a win after being edged 23-24 by the Sharks in a tight, scrappy second-round Vodacom Cup match in Cape Town on Saturday.
Both teams were on the receiving end of countless penalties and a red and yellow card for ill-discipline. Province finished the game with 13 players on the park and the Sharks with 14.
Riaan Viljoen, veteran fullback of the Sharks, scored the winning try for the visitors with his flyhalf Fred Zeilinga keeping a cool head to convert in the dying seconds of the game to give his side the one-point win. This win sees the Sharks topping the Southern section of the competition after round two.
The Sharks, who played with a slight breeze behind their back in the first half, kept WP pinned in their half and starved the Cape side of possession during the opening minutes of the game.
WP flyhalf Gary van Aswegen opened the scoring after 20 minutes converting a penalty after the Sharks captain and centre Marius Joubert was penalised for slowing the ball at the breakdown during a rare Province visit to the Sharks 22m area. Joubert was subsequently shown a yellow card for the infringement.
The Sharks wasted no time after the restart and scored the first try of the match after using the width of the field to stretch the Province defence. Winger Sbura Sithole dived over in the corner to put his side ahead. Zeilinga converted from the touchline to add the extra two points.
Van Aswegen kept his side in the game with a penalty and a dropgoal, retaking the lead 9-7 for a brief period of play.
Shortly thereafter the Sharks left-winger Sizo Maseko went over for his try, Zeilinga again converted from the touchline to add the two points.
Trailing 9-14 at the break, WP came out a different team in the second half and played more like champions. Two tries brought the home side back in to contention. They outscored the Sharks 14-10 but the late try by Viljoen and the subsequent conversion took the win out of their hands.
WP – Tries: Michael van der Spuy. Rayn Smid. Conversions: Gary van Aswegen (2). Penalty: Van Aswegen (2). Dropgoal: Van Aswegen.
Sharks: Tries: Sbura Sithole, Sizo Maseko, Riaan Viljoen. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga (3). Penalty: Zeilinga.