Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss has praised his team's effort in their 27-20 Super Rugby victory over the Sharks in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Cheetahs handed the Sharks their second straight loss and gave the former tournament leaders confidence a blow ahead of the play offs.
The Bloemfontein side were already out of contention for the play offs while the Sharks will be the only South African qualifier but the Cheetahs did the Durban side no favours in their title bid.
"Everyone, including the guys coming off the bench, had a good game," said Strauss after the match.
"They really put up their hands and played for one another. A lot of the guys leave at the end of the season and we wanted to give them a good farewell at our home ground.
"I think we achieved that. Next we face the Lions away and we will be looking for another good performance to round things off."
Despite the loss, the Sharks were remain third in the standings after receiving a bonus point for losing within seven points, and next take on the Stormers in Cape Town before the playoffs begin.
Strauss said the Sharks would carry South Africa's hopes heading to the final stages of the competition.
"Good luck to the Sharks. They carry our hopes of a South African side winning the Super Rugby competition."
"I wish them well on the journey that lies ahead of them. It was a very tough game and I am very proud of the guys for the effort they put in."
The Cheetahs also made use of the opportunity to bid farewell to key players at the end of the season.
Philip van der Walt, Lappies Labuschagne, Johan Goosen and Hennie Daniller are all leaving the Cheetahs to play elsewhere, while there is a good chance that Strauss and prop Trevor Nyakane are also going to ply their trade outside of Bloemfontein.
Sharks captain Jean Deysel said the Cheetahs were the better side on the day.
"We knew it was going to be tough from the get go," said Deysel, standing in for regular captain Bismarck du Plessis.
"It is never easy to come to Bloemfontein and win here.
"We couldn't get that last ball and a line out to try and draw the game, but that it is the way it happens. We had opportunities to score points, but it just wasn't our day today."