The Golden Lions booked their place in the Currie Cup semi-finals on Saturday with a 35-28 win over the Griquas at Ellis Park.
The lead constantly changed in Johannesburg in a ding-dong battle.
With the sides level three minutes from the end, substitute Willie Britz broke the deadlock when he waved off two tackles to score and ensure the Lions advanced to the play-offs.
The Lions were caught slightly off-guard by what was perceived as a weakened Griquas side in the opening 20 minutes of the match.
Although the Johannesburg-based side scored the first points of the match through a Marnitz Boshoff penalty three minutes into the game, the visitors soon took charge of the match.
Griquas full-back Gouws Prinsloo first levelled the scores with a penalty goal in the seventh minute before he added two more to give his side a 9-3 lead.
The Peacock Blues then upped the ante when winger Rocco Jansen scored the first try of the match in the 21st minute.
From a retreating scrum in their 22, Griquas sent the ball wide to Jansen waiting on the wings where he gained some ground before chipping the ball ahead to pick it up again to score, with Prinsloo converting.
The Lions, however, soon erased the deficit to bring them within a point of Griquas scoring two tries in quick succession.
The hosts' beefy prop Jacques van Rooyen was the first recipient of a five-pointer after the Lions set up a few phases from a lineout before he crossed the whitewash, with Boshoff converting to bring his side within six points.
Three minutes later the Lions added another try when Andries Coetzee grubbered the ball through before Anthony Volmink managed to dot down before the ball could roll over the dead-ball line.
Boshoff, however, failed with the conversion.
Three minutes before the end of the half Prinsloo added another three points to send the visitors to the change room with a four-point advantage.
Prinsloo picked up where he left off four minutes into the second half continuing his deft placekicking performance with another penalty conversion.
After sustained pressure on the Griquas line, the Lions finally found the breakthrough with hooker Willie Wepener steamrolling his way over the line in the 51st minute with Boshoff converting to level the scores on 22.
The teams exchanged blows with Boshoff first converting a penalty three minutes after the try before Prinsloo returned the scores to the status quo.
The two placekickers traded two more penalty conversions before Britz was put into space thanks to a good inside pass by Warren Whitely to run through for the Lions' fourth try of the match, with Boshoff converting.
For Golden Lions:
Tries: Britz, van Rooyen, Volmink, Wepener
Cons: Boshoff 3
Pens: Boshoff 3
Pens: Prinsloo 7
Golden Lions:15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Andries Coetzee, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Derick Minnie (c), 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Bees Roux, 18 Lambert Groenewald, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Kobus de Kock.
Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 Jonathan Francke, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Du Randt Gerber, 9 Jacques Coetzee, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Jaco Nepgen, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Rynard Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse (c), 2 Matt Dobson, 1 Janro van Niekerk.
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Dalton Davis, 19 Patrick O'Brien, 20 Enrico Acker, 21 JP Nel, 22 Logan Basson.
Referee: Jaco Peyper