The Cheetahs kept their hopes of gaining a home semi-final alive when they beat Griquas 49-39 in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The win has moved them into second spot in the standings and means that they are provisionally above the Sharks.
Griquas held the upperhand in the early stages and raced into an early 10-0 lead but the home side fought back strongly and scored two tries to lead 20-10 at half-time.
After the visitors' full-back Rudi Vogt opened the scoring in the eighth minute, Riaan Viljoen scored their opening try shortly afterwards,after combining well with scrum-half Sarel Pretorius.
The hosts struck back with well-taken tries of their own by wing Cameron Jacobs midway through the half and flanker Pieter Labuschagne, who rounded off a fine team effort on the stroke of half-time.
The Cheetahs were dominant in the second half and ran in four further tries during this period.
Labuschagne continued where he left off before the break when he scored his second try in the 52nd minute and captain Adriaan Strauss, Phillip Burger and replacement back Werner Griesel also touched down.
Hooker Strauss was in the thick of the action and his try was a just reward after a fine performance.
Another player who caught the eye for the Cheetahs was Tewis de Bruyn, who shone at fly-half.
De Bruyn, who normally plays at scrum-half, was selected at fly-half due to the unavailabilty of regular pivots Sias Ebersohn and Johan Goosen through injury.
He gave a solid display in the playmaker's role and also impressed with his goalkicking.
Griquas fought back towards the end and were rewarded with tries by Leon Karemaker, Dusty Noble and Sterph Roberts but by then the Cheetahs had an unassailable lead.
The defeat has also ended Griquas' faint hopes of making the play-offs.
Although they picked up a bonus point for scoring four tries, they finish the season in sixth spot on the table with 36 points from 14 matches.
The Cheetahs have 47 points in the standings, also after the completion of 14 matches.
Tries: Labuschagne 2, Jacobs, Adriaan Strauss, Burger, Griessel
Cons: De Bruyn 2, Scheepers
Pens: Scheepers 2, De Bruyn
Tries: Viljoen, Karemaker, Noble, Roberts, Pretorius
Cons: Vogt 4
Pens: Vogt 2
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Cameron Jacobs, 10 Tewis de Bruyn, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Marcel van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Johan Wessels, 20 Enrico Acker, 21 Philip Burger, 22 Werner Griesel.
Griquas: 15 Rudi Vogt, 14 Dusty Noble, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Matthew Rosslee, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Justin Downey, 6 Jonathan Mokuena (c), 5 George Earle, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Ivann Espag.
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Steph Roberts, 18 Jaco Nepgen, 19 Burger Schoeman, 20 Marnus Hugo, 21 Earl Rose, 22 Fabian Juries.
Referee: Marius Jonker