Johannesburg - Sharks coach John Plumtree was gracious in defeat, conceding that they were outwitted by the better team after their 42-16 Currie Cup final loss to the Golden Lions at Coca-Cola Park.
Gallery: Lions win the Currie Cup
"We were outplayed pretty much in every area," Plumtree said.
"It was disappointing that we didn't capitalise on the momentum we had in the first half, especially when they had 14 men."
The visitors enjoyed the majority of territory and possession but the heroics from the home side on defence made the ultimate difference.
The Lions made the most of the few chances they created.
The trusted boot of 21-year-old flyhalf Elton Jantjies, the man-of-the-match, kept the scoreboard ticking over as he succeeded with all the kicks that were entrusted to him.
Lions coach John Mitchell heaped praise on his players for keeping calm in a high pressure match and "getting the job done".
The Lions' pride weighed heavier than the Sharks' reputation as they lifted the Currie Cup for the first time in 12 years.
It was also their first final victory at home since 1950.
"To fill the corners of Ellis Park (Coca-Cola Park) is a testament to these guys [Lions players]," Mitchell said.
"It is important to savour what we are experiencing tonight."Scorers:
Lions: Tries: Michael Killian, Pat Cilliers, Jaco Taute. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3). Penalties: Elton Jantjies (5), Jaco Taute. Drop goal: Jantjies.
Sharks: Tries: Willem Alberts. Conversions: Frederic Michalak. Penalties: Michalak (3).
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 CJ Van der Linde
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Warren Whiteley, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Butch James, 21 Dylan des Fountain, 22 James Kamana
15. Patrick Lambie, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Stefan Terblanche, 12. Marius Joubert, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Frederic Michalak, 9. Conrad Hoffmann, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Keegan Daniel (captain), 5. Ross Skeate, 4. Jean Deysel, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Eugene van Staden, 18. Alistair Hargreaves, 19. Marcell Coetzee, 20. Ross Cronje, 21. Adrian Jacobs, 22. Lwazi Mvovo