SYDNEY (Reuters) – Flyhalf Curwin Bosch kicked two late penalties that helped the Sharks to a 23-15 victory over an ill-disciplined New South Wales Waratahs, who were at one stage reduced to 13 men, in their Super Rugby clash in Sydney on Saturday.
The victory moved the Sharks to 26 points and to the top of the tightly-contested South African conference, although the Bulls (23) play the Stormers (19) later on Saturday.
The Waratahs, who were seeking a victory to move top of the Australian conference, lost Jed Holloway when he was sent off by referee Nic Berry for striking Sharks prop Thomas du Toit with his elbow in the 46th minute.
Du Toit was also given a yellow card for holding on to Holloway’s jersey, which had prompted the lock to lash out.
Berry gave Waratahs flanker Jack Dempsey a yellow card five minutes later for a dangerous tackle on Sharks winger Sibusiso Nkosi.
Centre Andre Esterhuizen scored a try when the Sharks held a two-man advantage, while number eight Daniel du Preez crossed in the first half of the match at the newly-opened stadium in Parramatta.
Flyhalf Bosch added the rest of the points with two conversions and three penalties, although he also missed two other penalty attempts when they had a numerical advantage.
Scrumhalf Jake Gordon scored a try while flyhalf Bernard Foley added a try, penalty and a conversion for the Waratahs, who remain second in the Australian conference on 20 points.
The Melbourne Rebels lead the conference on 24 points and have a bye this week before they travel to New Zealand to face the Wellington Hurricanes next Saturday.
The Waratahs head to South Africa on Sunday, while the Sharks face the competition-leading Canterbury Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday.
Foley had given the Waratahs an early lead with a penalty but the Sharks struck back when they finally got some territory downfield as they built up some continuity and number eight Du Preez crashed over.
Gordon then put his side back in front with a slick attack down the blindside before Bosch slotted a 29th-minute penalty about three minutes later to lock the score at 10-10.
The flashpoint of the game came early in the second half when Berry issued the cards to Du Toit and Holloway, while Dempsey followed shortly after.
Esterhuizen then capitalised when he smashed over two minutes later and Bosch gave the side breathing room with his two long-range penalties, before Foley scored his try four minutes after the final hooter.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Clare Fallon)