The Highlanders, despite being reduced to 14 men late in the match, held on in the face of a furious late raid by the Sharks to win a thrilling match in Dunedin on Saturday.
The teams scored three tries each and both had men yellow carded - the inside the first 10 minutes and the Highlanders in the final minute - but the home team held on for a three-point (25-22) win - their .
The Sharks, after overcoming some early pressure and a few questionable calls, which included the yellow card of wing JP Pietersen, managed to bounce back and take a 15-7 lead at the break.
The Highlanders scored first - off a scrum Colin Slade put in a good little grubber kick and Sean Treeby picked it up inside the in-goal area and scored, the Sharks' exposed being a man short and no cover. Slade added the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
The rest of the half saw the Sharks claw their way into the lead.
A great maul again set up their first try. Charl McLeod gave it to Frans Steyn, who drew a few defenders and off-loaded to Meyer Bosman, who went over. Lambie levelled it up at 7-all.
Lambie gave his team the lead with a penalty just short of the half-hour mark, before a great chip from Lambie off a line-out and Bosman took it beautifully, before off-loading to Lwazi Mvovo, who had too much gas and went over for the try. The conversion bounced back off the post - 15-7, which was also the half-time score.
The Highlanders again had the better of the early exchanges in the second half.
The Sharks were again penalised by referee Steve Walsh and while captain Keegan Daniel was attempting to get a reason from the match official Aaron Smith took a quick tap and he went over for the try. Slade made it a one-point game with the conversion and then slotted a penalty a few minutes later as the Highlanders took a 17-15 lead.
Slade made it 20-15 with just under half-an-hour to go, as the Sharks remained on the wrong side of the referee's calls.
However, the next score - when Slade went over after some sublime interplay by the Highlanders, even with a hint of obstruction - was the result of a very poor kick by Charl McLeod. The conversion was wide - 25-15.
The next try, by Bosman, was more than 309 phases in the making, but it was a sublime off-load from hooker Kyle Cooper to the centre, Bosman, that finally broke the Highlanders' resistance. Lambie made it a three-point game - 22-25, going into the final quarter.
And with one minute left on the clock centurion Brad Thorn was yellow carded for the umpteenth professional foul metres from the line.
However, the Sharks managed to concede a penalty of their own and butcher a chance of victory .
For the Highlanders:
Tries: Treeby, A Smith , Slade
Cons: Slade 2
Pens: Slade 2
For the Sharks:
Tries: Bosman 2, Mvovo
Cons: Lambie 2
Yellow cards: JP Pietersen (Sharks, 7 - professional foul, knocking the ball down), Brad Thorn (Highlanders, 79 - professional foul, collapsing the maul)
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Phil Burleigh, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 TJ Ioane, 7 John Hardie, 6 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Chris King, 2 Andrew Hore (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Ma'afu Fia, 18 Elliot Dixon, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Fumiaka Tanaka, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Jason Emery.
Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Francois Steyn, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Wiehahn Herbst.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Piet Lindeque, 22 Odwa Ndungane/Derick Minnie.
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Keith Brown (New Zealand)