The Sharks overpowered the Chiefs 28-24 with an impressive display at Kings Park in Durban.
Robert du Preez was the difference, scoring a try and kicking 13 points as both sides scored three tries apiece.
This was a much-needed victory for the Durban franchise, who had lost six of their last seven to the Chiefs.
This was a much-needed victory for the men from the coast, especially against a depleted side with multiple positional changes to the starting line-up and without their star men, Damian McKenzie and Brodie Retallick.
The Chiefs lost Nathan Harris, Retallick, Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown to the All Blacks and others to injury.
Sharks and Robert du Preez were quick out the blocks.
They raced into a 10-nil lead after Robert Du Preez kicked a penalty, scored and converted his own try inside the opening 11 minutes.
Du Preez’s try came after some wonderful interplay between the front row, who combined some direct running with deft offloading to set up the try.
That was all the points the Sharks would muster before the break.
The Chiefs came firing back, taking control and playing inside the home side’s half.
They were on the board before the end of the first quarter when Tyler Adron crossed the whitewash.
It came from a well-worked lineout move inside the Sharks 22.
Liam Polwart’s long throw was taken by the Canadian international, who in the Bakkies Botha “enforcer” role, powered through two defenders to score.
Marty McKenzie, playing in his brother’s position at flyhalf, levelled the scores before the break.
Tit for tat at the start of the second-half.
Both teams came out flying after the interval.
Robert du Preez and Lukhanyo Am combined to send Lwazi Mvovo away for an early second-half score before Charlie Ngatai’s 47th-minute interception put the Chiefs in front.
It came from a stray pass by Andre Esterhuizen in midfield which was a gift for the centre, who raced away under the sticks.
Du Preez’s second penalty, five minutes’ later, put the home team back in front by a point.
Cam Wright’s sniping break from an attacking scrum, pushed the Sharks lead to six before another penalty gave the Durbanites an 11-point cushion going into the final 12 minutes.
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi’s fancy footwork and offload sent Solomon Alaimalo away in time added on to give the depleted Waikato team a losing bonus-point.
Sharks versus Chiefs video highlights.
Final score: Sharks 28 (10) Chiefs 24 (10)
Tries – R. Du Preez, Mvovo, Wright
Pen – R. Du Preez (3)
Con – R. Du Preez (2)
Tries – Ardron, Ngatai, Alaimalo
Pen – M. McKenzie
Con – M. McKenzie (3)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 2: Archie Sehlanko
TMO: Willie Vos
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Makazole Mapimpi.
15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Charlie Ngatai (captain), 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Liam Messam, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Liam Polwart, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe’.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Matt Matich, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Luteru Laulala, 23 Toni Pulu.