The Sharks showed great composure and regularly punished the ill-discipline of their opponents to secure a solid 39-27 victory over the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The home side had a fair amount of possession but lacked the penetration to make it count and found themselves desperately chasing the game against a focused Sharks outfit.
The defeat will cast serious doubt on the Blue Bulls' ability to contend for a semifinal spot this year as they are left languishing in sixth position on the Currie Cup standings.
Two late tries rescued a bonus point for the Blue Bulls, but that could not hide the fact that they were outplayed by a Sharks team that only scored three tries but managed to keep the scoreboard ticking as they took advantage of their host's mistakes.
Sharks inside centre Meyer bosman opened the scoring when he slotted a long range penalty after Blue Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe had entered a ruck from the side and he added another shortly afterwards when tighthead prop Werner Kruger was penalised for droppping his bind in the scrum.
The versatile inside back made it 9-0 when he was given the opportunity to take aim at the poles from close to the halfway line once more, and despite not spending much time in opposition territory the Sharks had seized the early initiative.
The visitors were then awarded a scrum just outside the Blue Bulls 22 and made the most of it by running a slick set move off the back which involved scrumhalf Charl McLeod looping around before they sent it out to flying right wing Sibusiso Sithole who raced around the corner to score the first try of the game.
French flyhalf Frederic Michalak's conversion made it 16-0 to the Sharks and the home team had it all to do at the end of the first quarter. They showed their attacking intent when skipper Gary Botha refused an opportunity to kick at goal in favour of the line-out in the corner.
The Blue Bulls forwards then applied some serious pressure which resulted in exciting flank Warwick Tecklenburg forcing his way over a vital try which put his team on the board.
The Sharks stormed back into Blue Bulls territory but a turnover on the 22 was snapped up by livewire scrumhalf Jano Vermaak who spotted some space out wide and sent it out to the waiting outside backs. Zane Kirchner did well to draw a defender before releasing Bjorn Basson who turned on the pace to run in the try which brought the deficit down to just four points at 12-16.
The home side had clearly taken the momentum from their opponents and they inched closer when flyhalf Louis Fouche knocked over a penalty after Sharks No.8 Jean Deysel had been pinned for holding on to the ball on the ground.
The Sharks hit straight back when hooker Craig Burden broke through the Blue Bulls defensive line on their 22 at pace and did well to stay on his feet before crossing for a good individual try which Michalak converted to give the visitors a crucial eight-point lead at 23-15.
That was the score at the half-time break, and with both sides running in two tries in the opening forty minutes the game was there for the taking.
The home team had a couple of opportunities to close the gap early in the second half but Fouche missed twice off the kicking tee to the frustration of the Loftus Versveld crowd and it was the Sharks who drew first blood in the second half when Michalak kicked a penalty to stretch the lead to 26-15.
The Sharks flyhalf extended the lead further when he knocked over two more penalties to take the lead out to 32-15, and the home side had it all to do with time running out.
The Blue Bulls threw everything they had at the visitors as they sought desperately to get back into the game but the Sharks defence held firm and the killer blow was delivered when Bosman ripped the ball in the tackle before releasing wing Lwazi Mvovo who had an easy run-in for the try which made the game safe at 39-15.
The only question remaining seemed to be whether the Sharks would score a fourth try to claim the bonus point and complete the rout.
However, it was the Blue Bulls who finished the stronger of the teams and late tries to No.8 CJ Stander and Basson meant that they ended up being the team with a four-try bonus point which would have left them desperately disappointed that Fouche only managed to slot two of his six kicks at goal.
The Sharks would have been satisfied with their performance which saw them cruise to victory despite scoring less tries than their opponents.
For the Blue Bulls:
Tries: Tecklenburg, Basson 2, Stander
Cons: Fouche, Brummer
For the Sharks:
Tries: Sithole, Burden, Mvovo
Cons: Michalak 3
Pens: Bosman 3 Michalak 3
Blue Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Zane Kirchner, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Gary Botha (captain), 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Dustin Jinka, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Francois Venter.
Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Sibusiso Sithole, 13 Stefan Terblanche, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Jean Deysel, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Jandre Marais, 3 Eugene van Staden, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Adrian Jacobs.
Referee: Mark Lawrence
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.