The Sharks put their campaign back on track with a 28-14 win over the Rebels in Durban on Saturday.
The hard-earned win came after two successive defeats and a bye in the last three weeks.
The Sharks outscored the Rebels by three tries to two in a scrappy match, where brawn was far more evident than flair.
However, the Du Preez brothers scored all but five of their team’s points – No.8 Dan du Preez getting a try, while flyhalf Robert du Preez got 18 points (a try, two conversions and three penalties).
Missing a swag of stars, the undermanned Rebels again fell short in their quest for an elusive Super Rugby win in South Africa.
Missing injured skipper Dane Haylett-Petty and three rested Wallabies, including in-form scrumhalf Will Genia, the Rebels produced a roller-coaster performance.
They scored two excellent first-half tries through wing Tom English and fullback Jack Maddocks, but failed to build momentum with 21 handling errors to the opposition’s three.
After blowing a big lead against the Lions in Johannesburg last week, the Rebels were desperate to make amends.
However, their lack of discipline again proved costly.
The Rebels trailed early, when the Sharks knocked back the chance for their first penalty goal attempt, with another du Preez, brother Daniel, planting the ball across the line off the back of a scrum.
They managed to peg back a 10-0 lead when Rebels flyhalf Quade Cooper spotted the Sharks defence short off a line-out and sent a long, floating pass to English for his 20th-minute try.
Cooper then found Maddocks, who showed impressive footwork to slice his way through the defence to score, with Cooper adding the extras to give his team the lead for the first time in the match 14-13.
But it was short-lived, with du Preez putting his team back in front after a penalty at the breakdown.
He missed another one right at half-time, with the home side taking a 16-14 lead into the sheds.
While Melbourne improved their discipline in the second half, their handling continued to prove troublesome and stalled their attempt to get back into the match.
A try to Robert du Preez and then a length of the field run-away effort from winger Makazole Mapimpi put the game out of reach and meant the Rebels left Durban empty-handed.
Man of the match: Rebels scrumhalf Michael Ruru justified the coach’s faith in him, while Billy Meakes did the most effective midfield carries. Daniel du Preez was a bundle of energy, making numerous forceful carries and plenty of tackles. Andre Esterhuizen’s booming left boot came in very handy. Makazole Mapimpi and Sibusiso Nkosi were both a handful with ball in hand. Our award goes to Sharks flyhalf Robert du Preez, for his clever game management and huge contribution on the scoreboard – ?? points, through ??”.
For the Sharks:
Tries: D du Preez, R du Preez, Mapimpi
Cons: R du Preez 2
Pens: R du Preez 3
For the Rebels:
Tries: English, Maddocks
Cons: Cooper 2
Yellow card: Marius Louw (Sharks, 74 – foul play, dangerous tackle)