The Vodacom Blue Bulls lost 13-12 to The Sharks in Durban on Friday in an Absa Currie Cup match played in miserable, wet conditions.
The Blue Bulls edged ahead in the first period, with flyhalf Louis Fouchè knocking over an early drop goal and two penalties.
The Sharks stayed in touch, however, with wing Paul Jordaan going over for the first try of the game in the 21st minute, scoring the home side's only points of the first half.
And while centre Meyer Bosman missed the conversion, the hosts kept themselves within four points, with the Vodacom Blue Bulls taking a 9-5 lead at the break.
The Sharks took the advantage for the first time in the match in the 45th minute when skipper Keegan Daniel crossed the whitewash, and though Bosman was again wayward with the conversion, missing the posts wide to the right, the coastal side edged ahead by one point.
Bosman was on target for the first time in the game eight minutes later when he slotted a penalty attempt.
With both sides desperate to take control in a close encounter in miserable conditions, Fouche missed a drop goal and Bosman was unsuccessful with a penalty kick as the Sharks stayed narrowly ahead with half an hour left.
The hosts were put on the back foot with 21 minutes remaining, when hooker Pieter Dixon was sent off for kicking an opposing player in the head, in a decision by the television match official.
Fouchè then banged over a penalty to bring the Blue Bulls within one point, but the Sharks held on to take a one-point lead over the Golden Lions at the top of the standings, with two matches still to be played on Saturday in the eighth round of the Currie Cup.
The Blue Bulls, struggling to gain any momentum in the competition, were left lying second from bottom, with the possibility of dropping to last spot in the table by the end of the weekend.
Sharks: Tries: Paul Jordaan, Keegan Daniel. Penalty: Meyer Bosman.
Vodacom Blue Bulls:Penalties: Louis Fouchè (3). Drop goal: Fouchè