PATRICK Lambie scored all the points as the Sharks ground out a 21-12 victory over Southern Kings in a fiery, try-less Super Rugby clash.
The Springboks flyhalf succeeded with his six penalty attempts at a near-full Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth and his drop goal off a post gave the visitors a 12-3 halftime advantage.
Kings flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis also finished with a perfect goalkicking record and his four penalties offered hope of a losing bonus point until Lambie completed the scoring in the final minute.
Victory lifted 2012 runners-up to second place on the combined table behind the Brumbies and ahead of reigning champions the Chiefs.
The Sharks have scored 62 points in victories over the Cheetahs, Stormers and Kings and 52 of those have come from the boot of Lambie, who replaced off-form Morne Steyn as Springbok first choice last season.
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But it will concern New Zealand-born coach John Plumtree that this was the second successive match in which the Durban franchise have failed to score a try after two in the opening game.
Fullback Louis Ludik did go over on 11 minutes after slick handling by JP Pietersen and Paul Jordaan put him in at the left corner, but the television match official spotted a forward pass.
Ludik came close again four minutes before the break when he was stopped just short of the line and the resulting scrum triggered a sustained bout of Sharks pressure that ended with the Lambie drop goal.
While the Kings were starved of possession and made infrequent visits to the Sharks territory during the opening half, a partisan crowd urged the home team to greater heights after halftime.
Although a Lambie penalty on 54 minutes extended the visitors’ lead to 15-3, the accurate boot of Catrakilis took the Kings to within six points nine minutes from time and there was even the hint of a dramatic win when they launched a sustained late attack.
However, replacement prop Jaco Engels was dispossessed and Sharks worked their way down the field, won a point-blank-range penalty and Lambie made no mistake.