Cape Town – The Sharks warmed up for next week's Super Rugby play-offs with 34-10 win over coastal rivals, the Stormers, at Newlands on Saturday night.
With the boot of flyhalf Frans Steyn contributing 14 points in the Sharks' 19-10 half-time lead, the Stormers were unable to find their way back into the match despite a spirited second-half display.
Since the Crusaders had earlier on Saturday recorded a 34-8
bonus point win, the Sharks needed to do the same, as well as win by more than 35 points, to snatch a second position on the season-end standings.
As the Sharks were saddled with a near-impossible task to make that happen, the result had no bearing on their play-offs fortunes and they will host the Highlanders in Durban next week.
The Sharks were forced into a late change when scrumhalf Cobus Reinach pulled out injured and was replaced by Charl McLeod in the starting team, with Stefan Ungerer coming in on the bench.
In the early exchanges, Steyn was on target with one of two penalties in the first four minutes when the Stormers infringed at breakdown play (3-0).
Sharks flank Willem Alberts was sin-binned in the 14th minute and shortly after Stormers flank Nizaam Carr scored a try from rolling maul, flyhalf Kurt Coleman added the conversion (7-3).
The Sharks worked their way back into the contest, with Steyn slotting three penalties for a 12-7 lead.
Coleman reduced the deficit with a 35th minute penalty but the Sharks extended their lead on the stroke of half-time, with a converted try by centre Paul Jordaan (19-10).
Four minutes after the restart, a fifth Steyn penalty meant the Sharks went 22-10 ahead. In the final stages of the match, the Sharks managed to break the Stormers' stranglehold in defence with break-outs from their own half and with tries awarded to Sibusiso Sithole and Steyn.
Scorers: Stormers 10 (10): Tries: Nizaam Carr. Conversion: Kurt Coleman. Penalty: Coleman. Sharks 34 (19): Tries: Paul Jordaan, Sibusiso Sithole, Stefan Ungerer. Conversions: Frans Steyn (2). Penalties: Steyn (5). – Sapa