Durban - A superb second half showing saw Western Province overpower the Sharks by winning 31-20 in Durban on Saturday.
Province had gone into the break 13-3 down, but scored four impressive tries in the second stanza as flyhalf Robert du Preez finished the match with two tries and 21 points to his name.
It is the first time in 11 Currie Cup matches that the Sharks have lost.
The Durbanites still finish top of the tournament standings, but this result means that WP have secured second spot on the log and a home semi-final.
The Sharks received a blow before kick-off with the news that Springbok Jean-Luc du Preez had picked up a late shoulder injury that ruled him out of the match-day squad, and his place on the bench was taken by Tera Mtembu.
The Sharks, who have lost just once all season, started strongest and had to wait just five minutes before No 12 Marius Louw went over for a try.
A Curwin Bosch penalty then made it 10-0 before WP got on the board through a penalty of their own from flyhalf Robert du Preez.
10-3 ahead, Bosch then slotted a long-range drop goal on the stroke of half time to ensure that the hosts went into the break with a 13-3 lead.
Province, though, were always in the game and they were actually edging the Sharks in the forwards battle.
They eventually had their reward on 53 minutes when, after a sustained period of pressure, flyhalf Du Preez went crashing over. He kicked the conversion, and all of a sudden it was just 13-10 to the Sharks.
Soon after that the backline fired with a sublime move that put flank Jaco Coetzee into a gap. His pass inside found Du Preez, who went over for his second try of the game before nailing the conversion to give WP a 17-13 lead.
Dewaldt Duvenage and JD Schickerling then went over two quickfire tries for Province, giving them the bonus point while taking the score to 31-13.
At that stage, Province had scored 28 unanswered points in the second half and the game was over as a contest.
A late Kobus van Wyk try for the Sharks was merely consolation.
Sharks 20 (13)
Tries: Marius Louw, Kobus van Wyk
Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2)
Drop goal: Bosch
WP 31 (3)
Tries: Robert du Preez (2), Dewaldt Duvenage, JD Schickerling
Conversions: Robert du Preez (4)
Penalty: Robert du Preez
15 Garth April, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 S'bu Nkosi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit
Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Jean Droste, 19 Tera Mtembu, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Tristan Blewett, 22 Kobus van Wyk
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Ruhan Nel, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Jan de Klerk, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Justin Phillips, 21 Werner Kok, 22 EW Viljoen