Western Province ended more than a decade of Currie Cup disappointment as they upset the Natal Sharks 25-18 in a tense final.
The Cape Town side had not won South Africa's domestic rugby crown since 2001, and twice found itself trailing the Sharks before flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis landed a penalty and two dropped goals to give Western Province the victory.
Western Province center Juan de Jongh scored the only try of the game, while Sharks flyhalf Patrick Lambie kicked all of the points for the home side, which finished runner-up for the second consecutive year.
With light rain having fallen throughout the day, an attritional contest was to be expected, and it was the Sharks who applied the pressure early on.
Although Catrakilis landed the first penalty of the afternoon just three minutes in, Lambie hit back with four of his own to open up a 12-3 lead for the hosts.
Province came storming back into the game as replacement Joe Pietersen kicked a long-range penalty before De Jongh's try turned the match around.
A Western Province scrum in the Sharks' 22 allowed the visitors to execute a well-rehearsed set-piece, which saw De Jongh burst through the center of midfield and score under the crossbar.
With Catrakilis notching the conversion and a penalty, Province went into halftime up 16-12.
Two Lambie penalties edged the Sharks back in front after the break, but it was Catrakilis who was to have the final say in the last 20 minutes.
A 64th-minute penalty gave Province the narrowest of leads, before Catrakilis showed composure beyond his years to slot two dropped goals, one off each foot.
The Sharks fought until the final whistle as they searched for the try that could have sent the match into extra time, but Western Province's cover defense held firm as it gained revenge for the Sharks' victory in a Super Rugby semifinal this year.
"I want to thank all the management for the hours that they have put in behind the scenes this season, because we really appreciate it," Province captain Deon Fourie said.
"I'm also very proud of my team, because they showed throughout the campaign that we can fight hard and we have character."
Defeat was difficult to take for Sharks skipper Keegan Daniel, who had seen his side dominate the round-robin, which they finished on top.
"To Deon and your team, congratulations," he said. "You played a great game today, you were solid, and that's what winning rugby is all about."
Western Province 25 (Juan de Jongh try; Demetri Catrakilis 3 penalties, 2 dropped goals, conversion, Joe Pietersen penalty) Natal Sharks 18 (Patrick Lambie 6 penalties). HT: 16-12