The Sharks put in another defiant defensive performance to claim a 29-23 victory over the Auckland Blues and extend their lead at the top of the Super Rugby standings on Friday.

Tries from skipper Bismark Du Plessis and scrumhalf Cobus Reinach and 16 points from the boot of Francois Steyn kept the visitors ahead on the scoreboard but it was their resolute defence that won them a 10th straight victory over the Blues.

The Blues, who had been unbeaten at home this season, enjoyed the majority of possession and matched the Sharks' try count with scores from flanker Luke Braid and winger Tevita Li but were unable to break through in a tense last 10 minutes.

After their equally impressive victory over the Canterbury Crusaders with 14 men last week, the Sharks will return to Durban clear leaders in the South African conference and already almost certain of a place in the playoffs. – Reuters