Replacement hooker Kyle Cooper scored a late try as the table-topping Sharks, at one stage reduced to 13 men, won their first game against the Crusaders in New Zealand, on Saturday night.
The visitors won 30-25 in Christchurch.
Reuters reports the South African side played more than 60 minutes of the game with 14 men after flanker Jean Deysel was sent off in the 16th minute for stamping on the face of loose forward Jordan Taufua, while Willem Alberts was sinbinned in the 64th minute for a professional foul.
They scored three tries to the Crusaders one.
Colin Slade scored all the Crusaders points with a converted try and six penalties, as the home side, struggled to breach a strong Sharks defensive effort and made too many mistakes on the attack.