Durban based Super Rugby franchise the Sharks held on to their unbeaten record by grinding out a 19-15 victory over the Jaguares at Kings Park.
The Jaguares outscored the Sharks by two tries to one in the match the newcomers discipline cost them in penalties and cards.
For the second week running the Jaguares were reduced to 13 players in the first half as Pablo Matera and Rodrigo Báez both spent ten minutes in the sin bin.
The boot of fullback Joe Pietersen helped the Sharks to their second victory in as many matches.
Two Pietersen penalties turned out to the only score in the second half after the visitors had enjoyed a 15-13 lead. Pietersen contributed 14 points of the Sharks’ 19 points in a winning cause.
The touring South Americans produced a dramatic end to the first half by scoring a try at a time when they had been reduced to 13 players following the sin-binning of their loose forwards Rodrigo Baez and Pablo Matera.
Their fullback Santiago Cordero ran in for the try after a telling counter-attack and although the conversion failed, the lead changed hands as the Jaguares took a 15-13 lead into the halftime break.
Earlier, Pietersen opened his side’s scoring with a 35m penalty in the fourth minute (3-0).
The slender lead survived only three minutes as the Jaguares scored the first try in the match with a sixth-minute touchdown by winger Emiliano Boffelli. Fylhalf Nicolas Sanchez added the conversion to open up a four-point lead (7-3).
A few minutes later, the Sharks produced the first of several first-half rolling mauls and their opening gambit ended with a try by flanker Marcell Coetzee. Pietersen’s conversion attempt was on target and the Sharks regained the lead with a 10-7 scoreline.
By the 16th minute, the scoreline continued to be ahead of the clock and Sanchez goaled a penalty for the Jaguares to draw level at 10-all.
In the 28th minute, the Sharks were awarded a scrum penalty and Pietersen’s strike allowed the Sharks to regain the lead at 13-10.
Báez was yellow-carded in the 33rd minute and moments he was followed by teammate Matera. This brought the Jaguares’ yellow card count up to four in only two weeks.
But the double setback did little to douse the side’s fighting spirit and they snatched an unconverted try by Cordero just ahead of the break (15-13).
The Jaguares returned from the break still buoyed by their good fortune ahead of halftime and their defences stood firm until their two players rejoined the fray.
Play was fairly sloppy with neither side managing to gain the upper hand for any significant passage of time.
The Sharks regained the lead in the 51st minute through a Pietersen penalty (16-15).
This advance seemed to provide the Sharks’ game with a lift and although they came to light with several attacking sorties into the opposition half, they made far too many mistakes to draw any advantage. By the 67th minute, despite enjoying the initiative, the Sharks had to settle for another Pietersen penalty to keep their victory hopes alive (19-15).
Pietersen, who had slotted seamlessly into the place-kicking role when Sharks skipper Pat Lambie was injured a few weeks ago, suffered his first failure from the kicking tee in the 72nd minute, by which time the Jaguares seemed to lose their attacking edge.
Next week the Sharks travel to Cape Town to play the Stormers while the Jaguares have a bye before they host their first home match against the Chiefs in Round four.
Final Score Sharks 19 (13) Jaguares 15 (15)
Tries – M.Coetzee
Pen – J.Pietersen 3
Con – J.Pietersen
Tries – E.Boffelli, S.Cordero
Pen – N.Sanchez
Cards -R.Báez (31st min yellow), P.Matera (33rd min yellow)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 1:Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Ref 2:Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO :Johan Greeff
15. Willie le Roux , 14. Odwa Ndungane , 13. Paul Jordaan , 12. Andre Esterhuizen , 11. JP Pietersen , 10. Joe Pietersen , 9. Cobus Reinach , 8. Daniel du Preez , 7. Jean-Luc du Preez , 6. Maroetzee , 5. Stephan Lewies , 4. Etienne Oosthuizen , 3. Coenie Oosthuizen , 2. Franco Marais , 1. Tendai Mtawarira (C)
Replacements : 16. Kyle Cooper , 17. Juan Schoeman , 18. Lourens Adriaanse , 19. Hyron Andrews , 20. Philip van der Walt , 21. Michael Claassens , 22. Garth April , 23. S’bura Sithole
1- Santiago García Botta, 2- Agustín Creevy (Capitán), 3- Ramiro Herrera, 4- Guido Petti, 5- Matías Alemanno, 6- Pablo Matera, 7- Rodrigo Báez, 8- Leonardo Senatore, 9- Martín Landajo, 10- Nicolás Sánchez, 11- Emiliano Boffelli, 12- Santiago González Iglesias, 13- Matías Moroni, 14- Matías Orlando, 15- Santiago Cordero
Replacements : 16- Julián Montoya, 17- Felipe Arregui, 18- Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19- Javier Ortega Desio, 20- Facundo Isa, 21- Gonzalo Bertranou, 22- Joaquín Paz, 23- Lucas González Amorosino