Flyhalf Joe Pietersen kicked 14 points as South Africa’s Sharks defeated the Jaguares of Argentina 19-15 in their Super Rugby clash at King’s Park on Saturday.
Pietersen, deputising for injured Sharks skipper Pat Lambie, put in a fine all-round performance with ball in hand and from the boot as he landed four penalties and converted a try from flanker Marcell Coetzee.
The Jaguares looked to run at every opportunity but lacked possession and territory. They scored first-half tries through winger Emiliano Boffelli and fullback Santiago Cordero, while flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez kicked a conversion and a penalty.
The Sharks have started the competition with back-to-back wins, while the Jaguares tasted defeat for the first time in their Super Rugby history after debuting in the competition this season.
Despite not having much of the ball it was the visitors who led early on with some incisive attacks.
Boffelli raced clear on the left wing to dot down, but an unstoppable maul from the home side saw them hit back three minutes later when Coetzee barged over.
For the second week in a row the Jaguares were reduced to 13 men as both loose-forwards, Pablo Matera and Rodrigo Baez, were sent to the sin-bin just past the half-hour mark.
Yet it was the Argentine side who scored next when Cordero chased down a grubber to cross the tryline for the only points claimed by either side during their numerical disadvantage.
That gave the visitors a 15-13 halftime lead, but the Sharks edged ahead again when Pietersen landed a penalty as the Jaguares slowed the ball down at the breakdown.
The Sharks’ dominance at the scrum showed when they won a penalty with 12 minutes remaining and Pietersen opened up a four-point lead that proved decisive.