Durban - The Reds added to the Sharks' woes when they won their Super Rugby encounter at Kings Park on Friday.
The men from Brisbane won 21-14, after leading 14-7 at half-time.
It was the Sharks' fifth defeat of the season in nine games.
Bryce Hegarty, Chris Feauai-Sautia and Tate McDermott’s tries saw the visitors to victory, as the Sharks missed a chance to go top in the South African conference. Their tries came via Kerron van Vuuren and Daniel du Preez as the hosts struggled for any real fluidity and made numerous errors both in attack and defence.
The Reds went into the interval leading 14-7 thanks to Hegarty and Feauai-Sautia’s tries, with Van Vuuren hitting back for the home team.
Brad Thorn’s side didn’t take long to hit the ground running as on three minutes a line break from hooker Alex Mafi led to quick recycled ball and Hegarty then spotted a hole and backed himself from 20 metres out for the opener. He slotted the simple conversion for a 7-0 lead.
The Sharks had chances to chip away at that buffer but instead opted for the corner, which did not result in points as the contest wore on.
It backfired too as the Reds soon doubled their lead on 20 minutes, captain Samu Kerevi’s bust then seeing him offload to Feauai-Sautia for a try.
Fortunately for the Sharks they did respond before half-time as a lineout drive saw Van Vuuren get over and while they had further chances which weren’t taken late on in the half, the hosts would still have fancied their chances of turning things around in front of their Durban fans.
It had looked as though neither side would trouble the scoreboard in the opening 20 minutes of the second period in an error-strewn spell, but the Reds then finally clicked with offloads aplenty down the right seeing Hegarty and Scott Higginbotham combine to put scrumhalf McDermott away.
That converted try moved the Reds into a 21-7 lead and with the Sharks making error after error in attack, it seemed an away win was likely.
So it proved as despite a late try from Sharks No 8 Du Preez off the base of a scrum, the Reds would hold on for a rare win in Durban.
In next weekend's action, the Sharks take on the Waratahs in Sydney (Saturday, April 27), while the Reds will enjoy a bye.
Tries: Kerron van Vuuren, Daniel du Preez
Conversions: Robert du Preez, Curwin Bosch
Tries: Bryce Hegarty, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Tate McDermott
Conversions: Bryce Hegarty (2), Hamish Stewart
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Kobus van Wyk, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Tyler Paul, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Aphelele Fassi
15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Sefa Naivalu , 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi (captain), 11 Jack Hardy, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Harry Hoopert
Substitutes: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Adam Korczyk, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Jock Campbell