The Cheetahs produced the upset of the season when they beat the Highlanders 36-19 in Invercargill on Saturday.
The three tries-all victory is the Bloemfontein side's first triumph in New Zealand's southern most city since the Free State beat them at the same Rugby Park back in 1997.
The Cheetahs won mainly because of their heart on defence, with over 100 tackles inside the first hour, and then their willingness to scrap and ensure the Highlanders don't get quick ball from the breakdown.
In the set pieces the Cheetahs also gave the home team hard time.
The Cheetahs showed their intent from the outset, when scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius quickly tapped a free kick near his 22 and caught the Highlanders napping.
And after an early Johan Goosen penalty, it was Pretorius who scored the first try. It went wide to Rhule, after some good hands in midfield. They switched it back and Adriaan Strauss found Pieter Labuschagne on the outside. He broke a tackle and Pretorius was on his inside, got the pass and raced away for the five-pointer.
Another Goosen penalty followed, before Kade Poki got the Highlanders' first try.
Then Robert Ebersohn scored after a charge-down and a race 80 metres downfield, before Pretorius intercepted for his second try. A third penalty by Goosen gave the Cheetahs a 30-7 lead at the break.
Poki pulled one back for the home team early in the second half, a well-worked try by the Highlanders, giving the local fans some hope of a revival.
Goosen - who kicked seven out of seven on the night, landed his fourth penalty with 15 minutes remaining - leaving the Highlanders a mountain to climb at 21 points down, 33-12.
The home team needed three converted tries just to draw level and Poki got the first one - his hat-trick score - with eight minutes left on the clock.
However, Goosen made it eight from eight, his fourth penalty, and at 36-19 it was a bridge too far for the home team.
For the Highlanders:
Tries: Poki 3
Cons: Sopoaga, Slade
For the Cheetahs:
Tries: Pretorius 2, Ebersohn
Cons: Goosen 3
Pens: Goosen 5
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Phil Burleigh, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Jake Paringatai, 7 John Hardie, 6 Joe Wheeler, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Andrew Hore (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Chris King, 18 Jarrad Hoeata, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Fumiaki Tanaka, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Buxton Popoalii.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Heinrich Brüssow, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Riaan Smith, 22 Ryno Benjamin.
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)