Title holders the Sharks stayed in the runnning for a home semi-final with a convincing 41-14 win over the log bottom Leopards in a Currie Cup clash in Phokeng, outside Rustenburg, on Saturday night.
The visitors went uncontested in the first half, strolling to a 15-0 lead and then surged in the second half and ran away with the victory.
Sharks centre Adrian Jacobs went over for their first try in the 13th minute, and flyhalf Frederic Michalak added the conversion, on top of an early penalty kick, to give the visitors the advantage.
Ten minutes later, flanker Jacques Botes dotted down, and while Michalak sent the conversion wide, the Sharks were in control.
The Leopards, assured of relegation with one match left in the top-flight, fought back in the second half.
Scrumhalf Johann Laker got the hosts on the scoreboard shortly after the break, with flyhalf Wesley Dunlop converting to narrow the gap.
Sharks winger Lwazi Mvovo struck back, however, carring two Leopards players with him as he stormed over on the left.
Showing heart with nothing to lose, and little to gain, Leopards winger Danie Dames scored their second try two minutes later, and Dunlop converted to close the gap within six points.
The visitors, however, held the home side at bay with scrumhalf Conrad Hoffmann scoring the bonus-point try midway through the second half, and the Sharks ran away with it in the dying stages.
Skipper Keegan Daniel blocked a kick from Leopards flanker Luvuyiso Lusaseni, sprinting clear to dot down, and winger Sibusiso Sithole added one more try -- the sixth for the Sharks -- in injury time.
Daniel said they were not entirely satsfied with their performance, but the Sharks were pleased to have taken five points from the match.
"We got the job done, but I don't think we were very clinical, especially in the lineouts," Daniel said.
"Coming to Rustenburg is never easy, though, so we're happy with the win."
Final Score Leopards 14 Sharks 41
Tries: Johann Laker, Danie Dames
Conversions: Wesley Dunlop (2)
Tries; Adrian Jacobs, Jacques Botes, Lwazi Mvovo, Conrad Hoffmann, Keegan Daniel, Sibusiso Sithole.
Conversions: Frederic Michalak (4)