Cape Town - Springboks wing Makazole Mapimpi bagged a double as the Sharks bounced back from defeat a week ago to storm past the Melbourne Rebels 36-24 on Saturday.
As it happened | Rebels v Sharks
After crashing to the Hurricanes in their first loss of the season, the Durban-based team showed their intent early with a quick try and they never relinquished the lead.
"There was a lot of running, good skills showcased from both teams," said Sharks skipper Andre Esterhuizen, who took over the captaincy duties from the rested Lukhanyo Am.
"Very proud of the boys. It's always good to get a good start, get the guys excited a bit and I guess it told in the end."
Defeat was a setback for a Rebels side missing injured Wallabies stars Matt Toomua and Reece Hodge as they looked to build on their opening win of the season last week against the Waratahs.
"Disappointing result, I thought it was a good arm-wrestle. We just didn't take a few opportunities," said Rebels captain Dane Haylett-Petty.
"They scored quick tries that really hurt us, but other than that we felt we were really in it and pushed them."
With an Elton John gig forcing them away from their regular AAMI Park home, the afternoon match was played in the sleepy regional town of Ballarat.
In breezy conditions, the Sharks came out of the blocks quickly and Mapimpi dotted down after five minutes when Sikumbuzo Notshe gathered a grubber kick and made a deft offload, with Curwin Bosch adding the extras.
But it was a short-lived advantage as the Rebels bounced back.
Debutant Andrew Deegan cleverly flicked a pass to Wallabies wing Marika Koroibete who spotted a gap and charged through for a converted try.
Esterhuizen restored the lead, using brute force to shrug off three tackles on his way to the line.
The two sides exchanged penalties before the Sharks delivered a dagger blow near half-time when Madosh Tambwe finished a sweeping counter-attack to give them a 22-10 lead at the break.
Kerron van Vuuren and Madosh Tambwe were both sin binned early in the second stanza and the Rebels capitalised with Isi Naisarani barging over for a converted try.
But Mapimpi got his second after a 19-phase attack, and Bosch then finished off a 95m move following a turnover to ensure victory before Anaru Rangi got a late consolation try for the Rebels.
Tries: Marika Koroibete, Isi Naisarani, Anaru Rangi
Conversions: Andrew Deegan (3)
Tries: Makazole Mapimpi (2), Andre Esterhuizen, Madosh Tambwe, Curwin Bosch
Conversions: Bosch (4)
15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Andrew Deegan, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Steven Misa, 1 Matt Gibbon
Substitutes: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Cameron Orr, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Rob Leota, 22 Frank Lomani, 23 Tom English
15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Andre Esterhuizen (captain), 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikumbuzo Notshe, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo