Shaun Treeby with a tackle on Bismarck Du Plessis during the Super Rugby match between Sharks and Highlanders from Mr Price Kings Park. Gallo images
Patrick Lambie scored all the points for the Sharks as they ground out a difficult 28-16 Super Rugby victory over the Highlanders in Durban on Saturday.
The young flyhalf landed five penalties to give the hosts a 15-9 lead at the break, before adding a converted try and two more penalties in the second period.
Kurt Baker scored the only try for the tourists with their other points coming via the boot of Mike Delany.
The Sharks started out brightly and were awarded a penalty inside the opening minute after the Highlanders failed to release, with Lambie slotting over from right in front.
But the visitors were allowed right back into the game when JP Pietersen, playing on the wing for the first time this season, fluffed a routine catch from the kick-off on the right.
When the ball was spread to the left, Jacques Botes was off-sides and Delany drew the scores level.
A scrum penalty moments later allowed Lambie to kick his side back in front, and he stretched the lead even further when Jamie MacKintosh failed to retreat quickly enough.
That kick took Lambie past 300 points in Super Rugby, before he knocked over another from the halfway like when Elliot Dixon kept his hands in a ruck.
At the other end Delany missed twice, before striking third-time lucky when the Sharks were again off-sides as the error count began to mount against both teams.
Botes was yellow carded just after the half-hour mark for coming in from the side, allowing Delany to cut the gap to three, with referee Steve Walsh's continuously warning both captains.
MacKintosh conceded another infringement on the stroke of half-time when he went in from the side at the ruck, allowing Lambie to stretch the lead to 15-9 at the break.
The Highlanders came out strongly after the restart and Baker crossed for a converted try on the right after a clever pass wide by Ben Smith to Jarrad Hoeata, who picked out the replacement winger, and the conversion put the visitors in front for the first time.
However, two more penalties from Lambie, the second of which took him past the 100-point mark for the season, put the home side back in front.
Keegan Daniel chipped ahead and Lambie took advantage of an error from Hosea Gear, which allowed the flyhalf to gather and score under the post with half an hour left.
It was comfortably converted, and despite more pressure from the Highlanders in the final quarter, the Sharks managed to hold on.
Scorers: Sharks: Try: Patrick Lambie. Conversion: Lambie. Penalties: Lambie (7).
Highlanders: Try: Kurt Baker. Conversion: Mike Delany. Penalties: Delany (3).