Sharks fly-half Pat Lambie kicked seven penalties to give the hosts a 21-17 victory over the Crusaders at Kings Park on Friday.
Andy Ellis scored the game's only try for the seven-time champions, who had led for most of the game, thanks also to four penalties from their fly-half Tyler Bleyendaal.
But their number ten missed three kicks at goal in comparison to the accuracy of Springbok back Lambie, which proved the difference in a tight contest at Kings Park.
The win, only a third one over the New Zealand powerhouse in seventeen attempts, kept John Plumtree's men top of the South African conference and third overall.
They started well and were rewarded with a second minute penalty, against Zac Guildford for offside, with Lambie slotting over.
But a fine line-break by Ryan Crotty allowed the visitors to dash in to the home 22 shortly after and, when a maul developed, Tendai Mtawarira came in from the side to hand the Crusaders a penalty, which Bleyendaal knocked over.
Another infringement from the New Zealanders, this time via prop Wyatt Crockett, let Lambie take the hosts to 6-3.
The Crusaders then secured the first try of the game in the nineteenth minute when a powerful run by Robbie Fruean down the left saw him slip the ball wide to Adam Whitelock, who came back inside and offloaded to Ellis to score.
Bleyendaal missed the conversion and a subsequent penalty on the half-hour mark, before finally finding his range again before the break when Marcell Coetzee was offside.
However, a shoulder charge by Fruean after the hooter enabled Lambie to cut the gap to two as the players headed for the dressing room.
The visitors scored the first points of the second half six minutes in when Bleyendaal slotted over from straight in front after a Francois Steyn high tackle.
There was a sustained period of pressure thereafter with Meyer Bosman and Franco van der Merwe both coming close to crossing the whitewash on either corner.
The Sharks finally managed to score points courtesy of two penalties, both 120 seconds apart and both conceded by Crockett.
Lambie landed both before the hour mark as the Sharks retook the lead for the first time since early in the game, before Bleyendaal sent over three more points for the Crusaders when the Sharks forwards failed to roll out of the way.
With eleven minutes to play, the home side won an excellent scrum penalty right in front, allowing Lambie to kick them back into the lead.
And they stayed there after Bleyendaal missed two long-range attempts and the Springbok fly-half added another penalty close to the end to secure a memorable win.
Pens: Lambie 7
Pens: Bleyendall 4
Sharks: 15 Francois Steyn, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Riaan Viljoen, 22 Louis Ludik/S'bura Sithole.
Crusaders 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (c), 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Jordan Taufua, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Telusa Veainu, 22 Israel Dagg.
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Reuben Rossouw (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)