Patrick Lambie kept the Sharks play off hopes alive when he scored all of his team's points in their 28-16 victory over the Highlanders in Durban.
Lambie kicked seven penalties, scored the Sharks only try and converted it for a total of 28 points in the match.
The Highlanders dominated territory and possession and after trailing 15-9 at half time took the lead 10 minutes into the second half.
However a a brief lapse in defence allowed Lambie to score his try in the 62nd minute and Lambies sixth and seventh penalty minutes earlier allowed the Sharks to pull cleaer and defend their lead.
The result takes the Sharks to a played 10 won five and lost five record for this season and the loss was the Highlanders third for the season after playing 10 matches.
The Highlanders held on to the second place in the New Zealand conference but that could change tomorrow as the Crusaders play the Reds in Christchurch.
Next week the Sharks host the Force and the Highlanders travel back to New Zealand to face a resurgent Hurricanes team.
Kurt Baker scored the only try for the tourists with their other points coming via the boot of Mike Delany.
The Sharks started out brightly and were awarded a penalty inside the opening minute after the Highlanders failed to release, with Lambie slotting over from right in front.
But the visitors were allowed right back into the game when JP Pietersen, playing on the wing for the first time this season, fluffed a routine catch from the kick-off on the right.
When the ball was spread to the left, Jacques Botes was off-sides and Delany drew the scores level.
A scrum penalty moments later allowed Lambie to kick his side back in front, and he stretched the lead even further when Jamie MacKintosh failed to retreat quickly enough.
That kick took Lambie past 300 points in Super Rugby, before he knocked over another from the halfway when Elliot Dixon was caught with his hands in a ruck.
At the other end Delany missed twice, before striking third-time lucky when the Sharks were again off-sides as the error count began to mount against both teams.
Botes was yellow carded just after the half-hour mark for coming in from the side, allowing Delany to cut the gap to three, with referee Steve Walsh's continuously warning both captains.
MacKintosh conceded another infringement on the stroke of half-time when he went in from the side at the ruck, allowing Lambie to stretch the lead to 15-9 at the break.
The Highlanders came out strongly after the restart and Baker crossed for a converted try on the right after a clever pass wide by Ben Smith to Jarrad Hoeata, who picked out the replacement winger, and the conversion put the visitors in front for the first time.
However, two more penalties from Lambie, the second of which took him past the 100-point mark for the season, put the home side back in front.
Keegan Daniel chipped ahead and Lambie took advantage of an error from Hosea Gear, which allowed the flyhalf to gather and score under the post with half an hour left.
It was comfortably converted, and despite more pressure from the Highlanders in the final quarter, the Sharks managed to hold on.
Final Score Sharks 28 (15) Highlanders 16 (9)
Tries -P Lambie
Pen - P Lambie 7
Con - P Lambie
Cards - J Botes (31st min yellow)
Tries - K Baker
Pen - M Delany 3
Con - M Delany
Referee: Steve Walsh
Assistant Ref 1:Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant Ref 2:Reuben Roussouw
1. Tendai Mtawarira , 2. Bismarck du Plessis , 3. Jannie du Plessis / Wiehahn Herbst , 4. Steven Sykes , 5. Anton Bresler , 6. Jacques Botes , 7. Marcell Coetzee , 8. Keegan Daniel ( C ) , 9. Charl McLeod , 10. Patrick Lambie , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 12. Tim Whitehead , 13. Paul Jordaan , 14. JP Pietersen , 15. Louis Ludik
Replacements , 16. Craig Burden , 17. Wiehahn Herbst / Jannie du Plessis , 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit , 19. Jean Deysel , 20. Ryan Kankowski , 21. Frederic Michalak , 22. Meyer Bosman
1 Jamie Mackintosh (C) 2 Andrew Hore 3 Chris King 4 Josh Bekhuis 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 6 Adam Thomson, 7 Doug Tietjens, 8 Nasi Manu ,9 Aaron Smith, 10 Mike Delany ,11 Hosea Gear ,12 Shaun Treeby ,13 Tamati Ellison, 14 Siale Piutau, 15 Ben Smith
Reserves 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Ma’afu Fia/Jacob Ellison, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Elliot Dixon ,20 Jimmy Cowan ,21 Chris Noake, 22 Kurt Baker