Durban - There was confirmation of the healthy depth of the Sharks at Hollywoodbets Kings Park on Wednesday night when their second-string side beat Griquas 24-23 in a second-round Currie Cup match.
The Sharks’ premier match 23 was in the stands cheering on their squad mates and it will be their turn on Saturday in Johannesburg against the Lions in a United Rugby Championship match.
Griquas had had the benefit of an opening-round match against the Cheetahs last week while the Sharks had a bye and they were understandably rusty in their first action of the year.
And it took 20 minutes of scrappy play before Sharks flyhalf Jordan Chait opened the scoring after having missed his first shot at goal.
The Peacock Blues have lost a number of key players — as well as their previous coaching staff — and are in a rebuilding phase.
But their DNA has not changed and they were typically resilient on defence and niggly at the breakdowns while the Sharks had familiar problems with discipline.
At the half-hour mark, the Sharks managed to prise open that defence with a neat break by Chait and then fine finishing by scrumhalf Cameron Wright.
But the Sharks then fluffed the kick-off receipt and then gave away a penalty in front of their posts and this time Zander du Plessis could not miss. After having fluffed three earlier attempts.
He then narrowed the score to 10-6 when the Sharks were penalised yet again at the breakdown by Rasta Rasivhenge.
The Sharks exploded out of the blocks after the break and a penalty kicked to the corner saw hooker Dan Jooste propel himself over for a try.
The Sharks forwards were gaining ascendency and there were powerful performances by loose forwards Thembelani Bholi and Mpilo Gumede.
Murray Koster on for Chait, nudged a penalty over from in front to make it 18-6 after 50 minutes but then a red card to Sharks flank OJ Noa saw Griquas kick to the corner and score via Justin Forwood.
Sharks substitute scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba landed two well-taken penalties, and Du Plessis kicked a pressure penalty, but a last-minute try by Sango Xamlashe left his side a point short.
Sharks - Tries: Cameron Wright, Dan Jooste. Conversion: Jordan Chait. Penalties: Chait, Murray Koster, Sanele Nohamba (2).
Griquas - Try: Justin Forwood, Sango Xamlashe. Conversions: Zander du Plessis (2). Penalties: Du Plessis (3).