The Lions fought back well in the second half to secure a tense 28-22 victory over the Sharks and claim top spot in the Currie Cup standings.
The home side had trailed by ten points at half-time, but two late tries saw them snatch a crucial victory which puts some space between them and the Sharks on the log.
The game started at a frantic pace and it was the Sharks who burst into the Lions 22 thanks to some purposeful running from captain Keegan Daniel.
The visitors thought they had opened the scoring when a cross-kick from Riaan Viljoen found Jacques Botes in the in-goal area, but the referee ruled that the flank had been offside and the Lions were able to clear it, but the Sharks kept the pressure on.
The Durban side did not allow the Lions into their half and forced the home side to defend desperately as they dominated territory and possession, but the Lions defence held up well and they managed to open the scoring when Sharks loosehead Dale Chadwick was penalised at a scrum.
The Sharks were able to level things up at 3-3 almost immediately when Lions captain JC Janse van Rensburg was blown up for obstruction at the restart, and Meyer Bosman stepped up to slot the penalty.
The Lions had the clear upper-hand at scrum-time, and they used their ascendency to turn defence into attack by winning a tighthead in their own 22 and storm into opposition territory where Jantjies slotted his second penalty, but the seesaw nature of the match continued when Bosman responded shortly afterwards to make it 6-6.
After those tense exchanges the Lions were rocked by a breathtaking try from the Sharks who ran the ball just about the length of the field from the restart.
Louis Ludik claimed the ball just in front of his own tryline and stepped the chaser before releasing Lwazi Mvovo who sped up to halfway. The ball was recycled quickly and given to Daniel who broke the line in midfield and carried the ball into the 22.
After doing well to secure possession the Sharks worked it out to Odwa Ndungane and the experienced wing showed good composure to stretch for the line and put his team 11-6 ahead.
However, the visitors were not done there and they managed to strike a decisive blow just before half-time when scrumhalf Cobus Reinach got over for a try in the dying stages.
The Lions had put themselves under pressure when a quick throw-in went wrong, and although Warren Whiteley managed to scramble the ball into touch the Sharks were given the sniff they needed before Reinach picked the ball up at the base of the scrum and stepped the last defender before racing over in the corner to hand them a 16-6 advantage at the half-time break.
The Lions needed to turn things around to avoid their second consecutive defeat at home and they started the second half in determined mood and they clawed their way back to within striking distance at 16-12 when Jantjies added another two penalties.
The home side were enjoying far more possession in the second half, and they managed to put the Sharks defence under some serious pressure by shifting the ball wide and varying their attacking play.
The visitors streyed offside once more as the Lions broke into their 22 for the first time in the match and Jantjies made no mistake with the penalty to reduce the gap to 16-15.
The Sharks finally managed to get their hands on the ball and built up some good momentum which resulted in two penalties to give them some breathing room at 22-15.
The Lions responded by launching a sustained attack in the Sharks 22, and although they came within inches of scoring their first try they had to be content with another Jantjies penalty which left the game poised at 22-18 with 15 minutes left to play.
With the game on a knife edge Andries Coetzee produced a touch of class, chipping over the top and recollecting to put Ruan Combrinck away for a try which gave his side the lead back at 23-22.
There was some controversy over the try as the Sharks believed that Jaco Kriel had knocked the ball on in the build-up to the try, but the TMO could find no clear evidence to support this and the try was awarded.
Kriel was in the action again soon afterwards when he snapped up a loose ball in midfield and sprinted away for an opportunistic try that proved to be the decisive blow as the Lions held on to their 28-22 lead until the final whistle.
Man of the match: Sharks captain Keegan Daniel was very impressive, but it is tough to look beyond Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies who varied his game well and kept the Sharks under pressure with his goal-kicking.
For the Golden Lions:
Tries: Combrinck, Kriel
Pens: Jantjies 5
For the Sharks:
Tries: Ndungane, Reinach
Pens: Bosman 3