Currie Cup champions the Sharks opened their 2014 Currie Cup campaign with a 24-31 victory over Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.
The Sharks led Griquas 3-18 at half time and although they led Griquas get back into the match they went on to win comfortably by 7 points.
Griquas were then reduced to 14 men in the sixth minute when centre Jonathan Francke was red carded for a dangerous tackle on Sharks fullback SP Marais.
Griquas drew first blood as early as the fourth minute through a penalty from fullback Nico Scheepers before they were reduced to 14.
Sharks flyhalf Fred Zeilinga could not capitalise on the resulting penalty, but the hosts were still left a man short for 72 minutes.
Zeilinga drew the scores level with a penalty in the 18th minute after Griquas could only manage to break their stride illegally. Zeilinga gave the Sharks the lead for the first time shortly after with another penalty to make the score 6-3 in favour of the visitors.
The Sharks scored the first try of the afternoon on the half hour mark. Zeilinga dotted down after a frenetic passage of play from the visitors, but missed the conversion for an 11-3 lead.
Shortly before half-time, Sharks centre Paul Jordaan sniped through the Griquas defence to score a try, and Zeilinga converted.
Sharks prop Thomas du Toit was yellow carded for repeated infringements on the visitors goal line early in the second half.
Zeilinga kicked a penalty after the hosts again were pinned in the scrum.
Griquas flanker Marnus Schoeman scored the first try for the hosts, and Scheepers converted.
The Sharks replied with centre S'bura Sithole crossing the whitewash and Zelinga again was successful with the conversion.
Griquas scored again as eighthman Carel Greeff grabbed a try as time was running out.
Griquas winger Ederies Arendse also scored to bring the hosts within four points, but Zeilinga's kicking sealed the victory with another penalty.
Final Score Griquas 24 (3) Sharks 31 (18)
Tries: Marnus Schoeman, Carel Greeff, Ederies Arendse
Conversions: Nico Scheepers (3)
Tries: Fred Zeilinga, Paul Jordaan, S'bura Sithole
Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (2)
Penalties: Zeilinga (4)
15 Nico Scheepers, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Wayne Stevens (captain), 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Hilton Lobberts, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Willem Serfontein, 3 Maks Van Dyk, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Steph Roberts
Replacements : 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Ewald Van Der Westhuizen, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Abrie Griesel, 21 Marais Schmidt, 22 Edries Arendse
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 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Marco Wentzel, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Thomas du Toit
Replacements : 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 JC Astle, 20 Francois Kleinhans, 21 Hanco Venter, 22 Lionel Cronje