DURBAN, South Africa - Francois Steyn was the unlikely man of the match as the Sharks posted a bonus-point 37-23 Super 15 victory over the Lions in Durban yesterday.
Originally selected at inside centre, the 2007 World Cup-winning Springbok was switched to five-eighth before kick-off because Patrick Lambie felt unwell.
And Steyn revelled in the playmaker role while giving a flawless goal-kicking display to finish with 17 points from four conversions and three penalties.
Victory took the Durban outfit back to the top of the southern hemisphere inter-provincial rugby union championship with 14 points from three outings.
Sharks lead the NSW Waratahs by four points and the Chiefs by six having played one match more than their rivals.
Coached by Jake White, mastermind of the 2007 Springboks' World Cup triumph, the Sharks also have a four-point lead in the South African conference over the Bulls.
Sharks left it late to score the bonus-point fourth try with flanker Marcell Coetzee getting the vital touchdown on 80 minutes.
Centre Paul Jordaan, halfback Cobus Reinach and winger Odwa Ndungane were the Sharks' other try scorers before a 28,000 Kings Park crowd.
Leading Super 15 points scorer Marnitz Boshoff, who started at fullback and switched to five-eighth early in the second half, lifted his four-match haul to 70 points.
He converted tries by halfback Faf de Klerk and centre Deon van Rensburg, and slotted three penalties in a match which turned over with the Sharks 23-9 ahead.
"Francois Steyn was absolutely exceptional," said Sharks skipper and hooker Bismarck du Plessis, "and I'm very happy at getting the bonus point.