The Sharks and Waratahs played out a scrappy 24-all draw at Kings Park in Durban, in an error-strewn game.
Robert du Preez’s 71st-minute try gave the Sharks a seven-point lead after some fancy football skills by Marius Louw.
However, With two minutes remaining, Mitch Short scored his first Super Rugby try and Bernard Foley held his nerve, slotting the touchline conversion to earn the Australians a draw.
The match was not one for the archives, littered with handling mistakes and blown set-pieces.
Lukhanyo Am grabbed a brace, either side of the break, as the sharks led 17-10 early in the second half.
The visitors hit back through captain Michael Hooper before Du Preez’s late try. But, a mistake by Curwen Bosch gave the Waratahs a sniff and Short made the home team pay.
On a hot and humid Durban afternoon, the Sharks and the Waratahs served up a non-spectacle; a game full of handling errors, bad passing, amateur set-piece play.
This will not live long in the memory. The Sharks led 10-7 in the first quarter after Am’s first try, cancelled out Jake Gordon’s 4th-minute opener.
Du Preez and Foley traded penalties as the two sides went into the half-time break all square at 10-all.
Am and Andre Esterhuizen had been the home teams bright sparks, but again, their lineout and scrums were not up to standard.
The Sharks driving maul was halted with ease, as the visitors continuously won turn-over ball.
The humid conditions had a part to play in the poor skill-sets, but the Sharks were ragged against the Lions, too.
The Tahs’, on the other hand, have ground out a hard-fought away win in Cape Town.
Am scored his second try soon after the break. It came from an excellent angled run by the centre from behind the ruck.
Du Preez extended the home team’s lead to seven with his second conversion.
A string of errors from Michael Wells, Sibusiso Nkosi and Esterhuizen made for horrible viewing.
On 56 minutes, Waratahs captain Michael Hooper scored after a mistake by Keegan Daniel.
The Sharks No 8 tried to take a quick throw, lost the ball which was scooped up by Tom Robertson. The prop drew the last defender and sent his skipper away. Foley’s levelled the scores for a second time at 17-17.
The Sharks scrum were starting to find some leverage, especially from the 98 Springboks-capped ‘Beast’ Mtawarira.
Curwin Bosch attempted a long-range penalty but pulled his kick.
Lubabalo Mtembu went close but another handling error killed a promising attack. However, the Sharks did cross four minutes’ later.
Louw’s wonderful chip-kick set-up Du Preez for the flyhalf’s try. Du Preez added the extras and the Sharks led by a goal with less than eight minutes remaining.
The joy for the home support was short-lived.
With the clock ticking down, the Tahs were dug deep.
Some superb interplay between Foley and Short stung the Durbanites when the substitute scrumhalf scored in the corner.
Foley had some work to do with the touchline conversion, but the Wallaby standoff made no mistake, levelling the game for the third and final time.
Bosch was unsuccessful with two drop-goals and the Sydney side hung on for a deserved draw.
Final score: Sharks 24 (10) Waratahs 24 (10)
Tries – Am (2), R. du Preez
Pen – R. du Preez
Con – R. du Preez (3)
Tries – Gordon, Hooper, Short
Pen – Foley
Con -Foley (3)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 1: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 2: Archie Sehlako
TMO: Marius Jonker
15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Jacobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (captain), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Lubabalo Mtembu, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Curwin Bosch.
15 Israel Folau, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Michael Wells, 5 Tom Staniforth, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Kalivati Tawake, 19 Nick Palmer, 20 Will Miller, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Alex Newsome.