The Sharks are the most successful Super Rugby franchise never to have won the title, with this their fourth Super Rugby Final.
This season might not have begun according to plan, but the sixth placed South African wildcard qualifying side is building up an impressive head of steam ahead of meeting the Chiefs in the grand finale in Hamilton on Saturday.
Back-to-back losses to start their season were not an ideal way to commence a campaign, and while those defeats might have been away from Durban, the Sharks have, in recent years, lived in the shadow of the Bulls (courtesy of their three titles) and the Stormers (two-time South African Conference champions), after being the best performer early in the tournament's history.
It was not until 2007 that another South African team reached a Super Rugby Final, and the Bulls had to overcome the Sharks - then in their third such fixture - to claim their first crown, a title that many in Durban felt was so close they could touch it.
With a squad that features 16 capped Springboks, and one Les Bleus representative in the form of Fred Michalak, the Sharks group's strength is further accentuated when considering that the French maestro competes with South African golden boy Pat Lambie for a starting berth.
As the 2012 season progressed hopes for the Sharks didn't exactly firm, with their 18-12 loss to this weekend's opponents the Chiefs back in round nine being the South African's fifth loss in their opening nine matches.
That match, however, represented a change in fortunes for the Sharks, and perhaps they have the Chiefs to thank for what has been the most impressive second half season turnaround of any team.
Four straight wins, including the scalps of the Highlanders and Stormers, followed over the next month, and this may have been helped by the Sharks round ten bye - one of the last teams to take a week off this season.
While there was a shock loss to the Lions, the Sharks have now won eight of their last nine, a streak unequalled by any franchise.
Such a statistic is backed up by the fact that the team had to overcome the defending champion Reds in their home fortress of Brisbane, and then had to haul back to South Africa to face the Stormers in their colosseum that is Newlands.
Two wins that have seen the Sharks knock off no less than two Conference champions.
If they were to beat the Chiefs in Hamilton this weekend, then it would represent a historic hat-trick over the finest sides in each Conference, and perhaps give the Sharks not only the Super Rugby title - but the unofficial tag of having the toughest Finals run of any champion.
Certainly the Sharks will hope that their first Kiwi finals opponent since Super Rugby's debut in 1996 will not be a bridge too far, with the side playing the Blues (1996), Brumbies (2001) and Bulls (2007).
This means that the Sharks are in an exclusive club also featuring the Crusaders and the Blues, one of three franchises to face an opponent from each Conference in a Super Rugby Final.
'A real challenge'
It has been a strong performance to date this year for the Sharks who saw their season end quietly with a heavy loss to the Crusaders last year, and now the side stands on the brink of becoming the second South African team to lift a Super Rugby trophy.
"It's been a real challenge for us to do what we've done," Sharks coach John Plumtree said.
"The senior players stepped up and accepted that challenge and did really well and I can't speak more highly of Keegan Daniel and Bismarck du Plessis, they have grown in their roles, as has the entire leadership group.
"What we've achieved to now has built confidence and getting to the final builds added excitement because of what we've been through. It's given us that little bit of confidence going into the big game. We've beaten the Australian Conference winners, the South African winners and now we take on the New Zealand winners, it's been great for our team spirit."
While The Sharks lost to Chiefs in Durban, there were only six points in that match, and regardless of the result or the personnel in that game, Plumtree feels that there isn't a lot to take out of that game ahead of the rematch.
"That game was a long time ago," he said, adding: "And they caught us coming back from New Zealand as well, we had played a number of games on the trot before that big contest and we were hanging on for a bit of a rest. There are also a number of changes to The Sharks side that played them in Durban that day, so there isn't a lot of relevance really."
Then there is the motivation of becoming the first Sharks team to join the winners' circle.
"Obviously we've mentioned that we could be the first Sharks team to ever win a Super Rugby title, because it's a real fact, but we've been focussing on the process of recovery and ticking all the boxes in terms of our preparation and now it comes down to the mental side of it all.
"We're a couple of days out from the game and it's about getting ourselves mentally prepared for this.
"We know we have a lot of support back home and we're also aware of the fact that no-one is really giving us a chance, so it's an opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong that we can pick ourselves up and go again. We hope we've done everything right in terms of our preparation.
"We haven't trained at the intensity that we normally do when we go into these big games, but we've obviously had to put a massive emphasis on recovery and making sure the bodies are alright. At this stage it's really mental."
In assessing the Chiefs, he admits that they are a dangerous side, worthy of complete respect for what they've achieved this season.
"They are a very good side, they won what was probably the strongest conference out of the three and deserved to be there. They have played the best rugby consistently throughout the tournament, they've scored a lot of tries and they have a lot of really outstanding individuals."