A second half fightback saw the Medicover Valke claim the first major trophy in the union's history when they beat the Natal Wildebeest 25-17 (halftime 10-14) to win the Vodacom Cup in Brakpan.
Tries by hooker Deon Strydom and fullback Jan Cloete and a conversion and a 55-metre drop-goal by wing Riaan Viljoen ensured that the Valke outscored the Wildebeest by 15-3 in the second period and by four tries to two in the match to become the fifth winners of the trophy since its inception in 1998.
It was a wonderful achievement by coach John Williams' men, who have been the surprise team of the competition and will be a difficult opponent in the premier division of the Currie Cup later this year.
The old Eastern Transvaal made the Currie Cup final in 1972, but they fell short by six points against Transvaal that day. In 2006 the Valke were up against a team with three Springboks and a host of Super 14 experience, but they showed that they were deserved winners of the competition.
They were the only team to beat the Wildebeest in the round-robin phase of the tournament - winning 34-31 in March - and only lost three matches in the entire competition.
The victory was built on outstanding defence and sheer commitment in a final that lived up to last year's epic between Griquas and the Leopards.