The Sharks required a late Curwin Bosch penalty to steal a 19-17 win against the Southern Kings in Durban on Saturday.
The teams scored two tries each in this Super Rugby Round Four match.
However, Bosch kicked three penalties, while Lionel Cronje managed just two conversions and a penalty.
The only Shark who left the field in Durban feeling satisfied was prop Lourens Adriaanse after scoring his first try in 50 Super Rugby appearances for the team.
Sharks coach Robert du Preez rested a number of first choices for a fixture he believed would yield a bonus-point victory.
Tradition backed his judgment as the Kings had failed to win in 20 previous matches against South African opponents.
His decision almost backfired, however, after Kings skipper and prop Schalk Ferreira said his side felt "insulted" by Sharks resting many regulars.
Trailing to an early Bosch penalty, Kings went ahead when loose forward Ruaan Lerm scored a try which flyhalf Lionel Cronje converted.
Another try, from wing Makazole Mapimpi, earned the Port Elizabeth-based Kings a 14-8 half-time advantage.
Bosch and Cronje exchanged penalties to leave six points between the sides with 14 minutes left in the Indian Ocean city.
Then, in a rare cohesive attack, Sharks came within a metre of the Kings line before spreading the ball wide for winger Kobus van Wyk to score in the corner.
Bosch missed the conversion, leaving the visitors clinging to a one-point lead, but a man short after skipper and flanker Chris Cloete was sin-binned.
With 71 minutes gone, Bosch got another chance to win the match, from a 55-metre penalty, and came up trumps.
Cronje, who kicked two conversions and a penalty, had a late chance to regain the lead for the Kings but his long-range penalty attempt finished well off target.
Both teams will be involved in South African derbies next weekend with the Kings hosting the Golden Lions and the Sharks away to the Central Cheetahs.
Man of the match: In a very poor match, few players really put their hands up. Our award goes to Sharks fullback Curwin Bosch, who kicked the winning penalty from 50 metres out.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Adriaanse, Van Wyk
Pens: Bosch 3
For the Southern Kings:
Tries: Lerm, Mapimpi
Cons: Cronje 2
Yellow card: Ross Geldenhuys (Southern Kings, 25 - cynical foul, slowing ball down illegally), Chris Cloete (Southern Kings, 66 - foul play, no arms tackle)
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Bernhard Janse van Rensburg, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu (captain), 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Daniel du Preez, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Garth April.
Southern Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Andisa Ntsila, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira (captain).
Replacements: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Justin Forwood, 19 Tyler Paul, 20 Stefan Willemse, 21 Johan Steyn, 22 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 23 Johann Tromp.
Referee: Egon Seconds (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
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