The Sharks progressed to their third Currie Cup final in a row after beating the Blue Bulls 20-3 in the wet at Kings Park on Saturday.
The Sharks progressed to their third Currie Cup final in a row after beating the Blue Bulls 20-3 in their semi-final at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
In heavy conditions under foot, the first semi was unfortunately not a classic as only one try was scored, coming in the 74th minute of the contest.
Pat Lambie was the clear winner in his personal battle with Morne Steyn as the youngster slotted five penalties to the veteran's sole three-pointer.
Victory sets up a possible repeat of last season's Currie Cup final but this year the showpiece will be held at Kings Park due to them finishing top.
Three first-half penalties from Lambie put the hosts 9-0 up at the break, before two more penalties and a late Lwazi Mvovo try ensured that John Plumtree's men will host next week's decider.
The Sharks fully deserved their win, almost entirely dominating the Blue Bulls, who had to play with 14 men for a period in the first-half after a professional foul by Morne Mellett.
The two sides seemed reluctant to hold on to the ball during the early exchanges, while the hosts fluffed their first attempt at goal when a fifth-minute Lambie penalty from close to the halfway line dropped well short.
The kicking trend continued for most of the opening quarter, before the Sharks finally went ahead with a 22nd minute penalty from Lambie after Jano Vermaak was caught offside.
The Blue Bulls were reduced to 14 men on the half-hour mark when Mellett was carded for a cynical trip of Lambie after he kicked ahead and tried to collect five metres short of the line.
Lambie slotted over the penalty and added another moments later when Francois Venter failed to release in a tackle after a fine initial chase by winger Mvovo.
It was a deserved lead for the Sharks at the break and after the restart fly-half Lambie extended the advantage when flanker Jacques Potgieter failed to roll away.
There was finally a chance for the visitors 10 minutes into the second half, but they were thwarted on the line by some solid home defence – a free-kick turning into a penalty to add insult to injury for the Bulls after some back chatting to referee Mark Lawrence.
The Bulls seemed to suddenly find momentum going forward, only for JJ Engelbrecht to knock on when they found an attacking gear.
Winger Bjorn Basson then missed a pass as he charged forward, before Pine Pienaar's men eventually won a penalty within kickable range after Steven Sykes took too long to roll away from a ruck. Steyn converted the penalty but the Sharks hit straight back, again through Lambie, to retain their 12-point lead. With six minutes to go, Mvovo capped a good team effort by diving over on the left to clinch the win.
For The Sharks:
Pen: Lambie 5
For Blue Bulls:
Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Jandre Marais, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Meyer Bosman.
Blue Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 MornÃ¨ Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Dewald Potgieter (c), 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 JuandrÃ¨ Kruger, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 MornÃ¨ Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Louis FouchÃ¨, 22 Dean Greyling.
Referee: Mark Lawrence