Blues 23-29 Sharks
The Sharks, inspired by captain Keegan Daniel, ran in four tries to deepen the crisis at the Auckland Blues with a 29-23 victory in their Super Rugby clash at Eden Park.
The Durban-based South Africans had scored tries through lock Steven Sykes and fleet-footed hooker Craig Burden from intercepts in the first 17 minutes but looked to have been reined in when the Blues took the lead soon after halftime.
They roared back with tries from Daniel and centre Tim Whitehead inside two minutes, however, to open up a gap that the Blues could not bridge despite their obvious desperation to clinch a second win of the season.
As it was, the willing but error-prone Blues could manage only two tries through experienced All Black prop Tony Woodcock and centre Benson Stanley and remain rooted to the bottom of the New Zealand conference.
Number eight Daniel seemed to be all over the park, dogged at the tackle and breakdown and dynamic with ball in hand and it was his intercept and 50 metre run in the fourth minute that allowed Sykes to open the scoring.
"We haven't been very consistent on the trip but to come to the home of rugby and get five points, we're very happy with that," he said in a pitchside interview.
"We had to defend most of the half and that's been one of downfalls so I'm proud of the way we defended and then we scored the four tries to get the bonus point so we're very happy."
Blues centre and World Cup winner Ma'a Nonu, by contrast, typified his team's lack of cutting edge by running into tacklers all evening and sharing in a glut of handling errors.
"Two intercept tries, that's 14 gift points and against a team like the Sharks that's too many points," said Blues skipper Keven Mealamu.
"The boys are trying really hard out there but these little things really cost us, you can't win in this competition with that many errors."