The Hurricanes have reached the 10-win mark this season, which in recent years has been enough to secure a spot in the Super Rugby playoffs.
It was a struggle at times but they edged the Sharks 32-24 at Westpac Stadium in Wellington tonight.
They have opened a 10-point gap on the Chiefs at the top of the New Zealand conference and with a playoff berth all but assured, they can start to cast their minds towards booking home advantage during the final five weeks of the season.
Next weekend's clash with the Chiefs in the capital promises to be a pivotal one for the Hurricanes and it shapes as an eight-point contest.
Picking up a bonus point against the Sharks was also valuable to this side and their 10th win came in their 11th game with their only blemish being a loss to the Waratahs in round 10 last month.
Ma'a Nonu, a man often maligned for his perceived lack of effort at Super Rugby level, continued his impressive campaign as he played a part in both of the Hurricanes' first two tries, which came through Cory Jane and Conrad Smith.
There's more than 150 games of Super Rugby on Nonu's odometer but the second-five keeps going and has shown no signs of letting up on his return to the Hurricanes after three seasons in the wilderness.
Nonu's running game continues to improve, while his deft passing is a feature but his defence has also been accurate this year.
Despite only having 38 per cent of possession during the first spell, the Hurricanes took a 14-10 lead to the break.
As they've done all season, they soaked up waves of attack from their opponents as their tackling was forceful and they proved tough to break down.
Hurricanes pivot James Marshall was entrusted with running the cutter in the absence of Beauden Barrett (knee) who was expected to be out for a few weeks.
Marshall is best-suited at fullback but has the ability to play first-five, although his general kicking game isn't as sharp as Barrett and he doesn't carve off big metres from the hand.
The utility has a dangerous running game though and he is also an experienced operator having performed well at provincial level for Taranaki in recent years.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd also took the opportunity to rest All Blacks TJ Perenara and Julian Savea, which may have been in part due to the Sharks losing 48-15 to the Highlanders in Dunedin last week.
It wasn't a matter of underestimating the Durban-based side but Boyd has stressed his desire to rest his internationals during games against South African and Australian opposition due to the importance placed on New Zealand derbies.
The return of second-five Francois Steyn lifted the Sharks and his reliable boot helped the scoreboard tick over and after tries to both their wings, the Sharks took a 24-21 lead to the final 12 minutes of the contest.
It was a brutal game that had bodies strewn across the field at different times due to a collection of thunderous hits and both sides had players leave the field due to injury.
With the game winding down, lock Jeremy Thrush crossed for the home side, which provided the four-try bonus point and Marshall iced it with two late penalties as Prince Harry watched on.
Hurricanes 32 (Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Reggie Goodes, Jeremy Thrush tries; James Marshall 2 pen, 3 con) Sharks 24 (Bismarck du Plessis, Sibusiso Sithole, Odwa Ndungane tries; Francois Steyn pen, 3 con) halftime: 14-10