Cape Town - The Sharks were crowned Currie Cup champions when they claimed a 17-12 victory over Western Province in the final at Newlands on Saturday.
It was a bruising, low-scoring affair, which saw the visitors score the only two tries of the match.
The opening exchanges were tense as the sun beat down, with both teams spending time in the 22m areas without being able to capitalise.
The first points came from the boot of Western Province wing SP Marais, who landed a penalty after 20 minutes to give the home side the lead.
Western Province then had to show some serious commitment on defence, holding up admirably and surviving two try referrals to the television match official (TMO).
They doubled their lead with a second Marais penalty just before half-time, to take a 6-0 lead into the break after a tryless first half.
The visitors went in front just after half-time with the first try of the game from hooker Akker van der Merwe, which was converted by flyhalf Robert du Preez to make it 7-6.
Western Province were back in front shortly afterwards with a third Marais penalty which followed a clever kick from Damian Willemse and a lineout steal from Chris van Zyl.
The lead changed hands again with Du Preez kicking a penalty after his brother Jean-Luc had lost the ball forward in the act of scoring.
They extended that lead further when flank Tyler Paul barged over for a try, but the home side managed to bring themselves back within range with a penalty from Damian Willemse five minutes from time.
Western Province will rue making several basic errors and never looked like crossing the whitewash.
The Sharks, despite struggling at scrum time, dominated the physical exchanges and made better use of their opportunities to claim a well-deserved win.
Penalties: SP Marais (3), Damian Willemse
Tries: Akker Van der Merwe, Tyler Paul
Conversions: Robert du Preez (2)
Penalty: Du Preez
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 SP Marais, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak
Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 JJ Engelbrecht
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 S'bu Nkosi, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Aphelele Fassi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Tyler Paul, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Juan Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Jacques Vermeulen, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Kobus van Wyk, 23 Leolin Zas