Sharks forwards coach Brad Macleod-Henderson singled out a purple patch before the break as being critical in securing victory over the Free State Cheetahs in Durban on Saturday.
Patrick Lambie, who scored 23 points, was vital during that period when he went over for a try and slotted over a conversion and two penalties.
"That (spell before half time) was crucial or us," Macleod-Henderson said after the match.
"Before that I don't think we particularly played our best rugby and that was the kick-start we needed to move forward, go on and get the result."
Lambie's try was one of three for the home side, adding to scores by Jacques Botes and Heimar Williams, as the Sharks ensured a repeat of last year's final against Western Province, although Cape Town will play host in 2013.
The home fly-half, who has spent a large part of the past four months on the Springbok sidelines, was left on the bench last week, before being promoted to the XV this week.
"Pat was man-of-the-match and it was another fantastic display from him," the Sharks coach said.
"His try at the end of the first half really got us going.
"But it just shows what a quality player Pat was tonight to guide us around the field and produce a performance like he did."
The side from Bloemfontein had started out far stronger with Lappies Labuschagne, one of three try scorers alongside Johann Sadie and Schalk van der Merwe, crossing after three minutes. But they failed to take more of their chances and were punished by the clinical hosts.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game," said Macleod-Henderson.
"We maybe started the game a bit flat, but by the end of the first half there we kicked in. In the second half I think we played some nice stuff, so I'm very happy with the win.
"We've just had a quick chat about the result, and going to Newlands is a daunting task, but we're looking forward to it. They're a quality outfit, they're unbeaten in the Currie Cup so far, so we'll have to be on top of our game to win there."