A controversial disallowed late try cost the Sharks two bonus points as they suffered a shock 38-28 Super Rugby defeat by the Lions on Saturday.
An assistant told referee Gareth Williamson he was satisfied that replacement back Louis Ludik had grounded the ball over the try line four minutes from time at a chilly Ellis Park Stadium.
However, the television match official thought otherwise after a lengthy spell studying replays from various angles and the playoff contenders Sharks returned pointless to Durban.
Defeat after four consecutive victories during last month saw the Sharks surrender sixth place (the top six teams on the final standings qualify for the knockout phase) to New Zealand outfit the Hurricanes.
The teams are level on 45 points and have won eight matches each, but the Hurricanes boast a superior points difference and each team has two matches to play.
The Lions were a revelation in the first half, playing with determination and skill that belied the fact that they had lost 11 consecutive matches since beating fellow South African club the Central Cheetahs on matchday one in February.
After averaging just 1.5 tries in 12 matches, the Johannesburg franchise scored four before the break against the rattled Sharks and turned with a 32-11 advantage over a team they had never beaten in seven previous Super Rugby clashes.
A Sharks side packed with Springboks were a transformed outfit early in the second half, scoring two converted tries in quick succession to leave only seven points between the contestants with 35 minutes to go.
However, the black-clad visitors could not maintain the momentum and the rest of the scoring came from penalties, with Elton Jantjies kicking two for the Lions and fullback Patrick Lambie one for the Sharks.
Sharks lock Steven Sykes was sin-binned on 29 minutes for grabbing Lions No. 8 and skipper Joshua Strauss around the neck and home outside center Lionel Mapoe was punished soon after for not rolling away after a tackle.
Flanks Grant Hattingh and Derick Minnie, Mapoe and right-wing Deon van Rensburg scored tries for the Lions and Jantjies kicked three conversions and four penalties.
Left-wing Lwazi Mvovo, outside center J.P. Pietersen and right-wing Odwa Ndungane crossed the try line for the Sharks and Lambie succeeded with two conversions and three penalties.
STORMERS 19, BULLS 14
A late try by Springbok wing Bryan Habana enabled the Stormers to steal a victory against a dominant Bulls team in a clash at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Victory enabled the Cape franchise to stretch their lead in the South African conference to five points over the Bulls, although they are four points adrift of overall leaders the Chiefs from New Zealand.
The Stormers owed their triumph to exceptional defense as they resisted wave after wave of attacks by the Bulls, playing in front of a capacity 50,000 home crowd.
The Bulls were unable to take advantage of the Stormers being reduced to 14 men when prop Frans Malherbe was given a yellow card for a dangerous tackle 20 minutes into the second half, when the Bulls were 14-9 ahead.
From the resultant penalty near the Stormers line, the Bulls spurned the chance to kick for posts, opting for a lineout, which they failed to control.
The Stormers held out for the 10 minutes that Malherbe was off the field and a penalty by Stormers flyhalf Peter Grant reduced the deficit to two points.