Flawless display from Sharks goal-kickers Pat Lambie and Frans Steyn
The Sharks continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 35-20 victory over the Reds at Kings Park on Saturday.
The teams each scored two tries, but a flawless display from Sharks goal-kickers Pat Lambie and Frans Steyn saw them to a fourth consecutive victory
The Reds made an efficient start to the game, moving into Sharks territory where Quade Cooper was able to slot an early penalty after the hosts had strayed offside, but the Sharks soon levelled things up with a trademark monster penalty from Steyn.
The Reds were intent on playing in the Sharks' half, and they were back in front when Steyn failed to roll away in the tackle, giving Cooper the chance to kick another penalty.
The Sharks took it through the phases and bashed away on the Reds 22 until Saia Fainga'a put his hands in the ruck to give Lambie an easy three points to make it 6-6 after an even opening 20 minutes.
The home side were enjoying the ascendency at scrum-time and they used that platform to force the Reds deep into their own half where Lambie was able to add another penalty to put the Sharks 9-6 up.
A break from JP Pietersen in his first match back from Japan got the Sharks straight back onto the front foot and Lambie made the Reds pay once more as his third penalty went over.
The Sharks were dominating possession and made the most of it as Willem Alberts powered his way over for the first try after great interplay between Sibusiso Sithole and Pietersen who claimed a cross-kick to break the Reds defensive line.
That left the Reds 19-6 down after the first half-hour and searching for a way back into the game, and things got even tougher for them when Lambie and Steyn added another penalty each.
The visitors got the chance to attack right at the end of the first half with skipper James Horwill opting for the attacking line-out instead of taking the points, but Mike Harris dropped the ball with the tryline at his mercy to send his side into the break trailing 25-6.
The Reds made a determined start to the second half as they sought to turn things around and put the Sharks under some considerable pressure in the scrums, and they were eventually rewarded when Harris brushed off a few tackles to get over for the try.
The visitors had made all of the running after half-time, but the Sharks were able to hit back when Lambie kicked another penalty after Rod Davies had been isolated in midfield by a good tackle by Cobus Reinach.
However, the Reds were right back in the game when Will Genia picked the ball up at the base of a ruck and raced over for their second try which reduced the Sharks' lead to 28-20 with 15 minutes to play.
The Reds fight back suffered a major setback when Beau Robinson was shown a yellow card for repeated infringements from his side after playing the man in the air at the line-out.
That made life much easier for the Sharks and they had the final say as Dale Chadwick forced his way over for a late try from close range which sealed the win.
Man of the match: Sharks flank Marcell Coetzee had a great game as he showed good skills at the breakdown on top of his usual physicality.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Alberts, Chadwick
Cons: Lambie 2
Pens: Steyn 2, Lambie 5
For the Reds:
Tries: Harris, Genia
Cons: Cooper 2
Pens: Cooper 2
Yellow card: Beau Robinson (Reds, 68 - repeated infringements)
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Sibusiso Sithole, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 TBC, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 Jaco van Tonder.
Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Ben Tapuai, 23 Dom Shipperley.
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa), Stefan Breytenbach (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)