Western Province were the big winners in Currie Cup action, beating the Sharks in Durban and securing a home semi-final. The Lions and Bulls also qualified.
The Sharks were already guaranteed a home semi-final and looked set to end the league phase on a high when they took a 13-3 lead into the break. But the visitors were outstanding in scoring four tries in succession to lead 31-13. The Sharks added a consolation try but were comfortably second best in the last 40 minutes.
Western Province flyhalf Robert du Preez, son of Sharks coach Robert du Preez, scored two tries and was named man of the match.
The Lions showed great form at the right time to whip the Cheetahs 44-17 in Johannesburg. The Lions played five of their Springboks and it made a huge difference. The Cheetahs picked the core of their Pro14 line-up but they never looked like winning.
The Lions, who lost five of their first six games, will play Western Province in Cape Town and the Sharks will host the very improved Bulls.
John Mitchell’s Bulls sneaked into the play-offs thanks to an emphatic win against the Pumas in the weekend’s early game on Friday night.
The Bulls conceded 50 points to the Pumas in the first league meeting and this time put 50 points past the Pumas.