The Lions have cruised to a 39-23 bonus-point Currie Cup win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
The Johannesburg side looked impressive during the 80 minutes and boosted their semi-final hopes with the win.
The Sharks lie second, five points behind the Bulls, and have an all-important match in hand over the table-topping men from Pretoria.
Western Province (26 points) remain third after their 28-14 bonus-point win over the Pumas in Cape Town on Friday.
The Lions are fourth (25 points) and a yawning 8-point gap has opened up to the Cheetahs in fifth.
In next weekend’s Round 4 action, the Pumas host the Cheetahs in Nelspruit (Friday, December 18 at 19:00), while Griquas will welcome the Bulls to Kimberley (Saturday, December 19 at 16:30) and the Lions entertain the Sharks in the match of the weekend (Saturday, December 19 at 19:00).
WP have a bye.
Tries: Ruben de Haas, Marnus van der Merwe
Conversions: Tian Schoeman (2)
Penalties: Schoeman (2), Frans Steyn
Tries: Willem Alberts, Andre Warner (2), Jannie du Plessis, Marvin Orie
Conversions: Elton Jantjies (4)
Penalties: Jantjies (2)
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Howard Mnisi, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Aidon Davis, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Kutha Mchunu, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Boan Venter
Substitute: 16 Marnus van der Merwe, 17 Cameron Dawson, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Victor Sekekete, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Dries Swanepoel
15 Tiaan Swanepoel, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole
Substitutes: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Manuel Rass, 23 Roelof Smit