“Every year we say that this is the year we are going to win a trophy but we have to make a decision and we’ve got to change whatever we have been doing wrong over the last 10 years, because we’ve been one of the top sides who’ve always been there and there abouts but we have absolutely nothing to show for it.”
This is how Sharks captain Johann Muller summed up the disappointment at having last won the Currie Cup back in 1996 and the determination to get it right this season, according to Craig Lewis, writing for IOL.
In 1996, Natal beat Transvaal 33-15 and followed that up with appearances in the final in 1999, 2000 and 2001 but failed to take back the trophy.
The Sharks have made the semifinals in the last two years but were beaten by the Cheetahs and Lions respectively.
To be fair though, the loss of players to the Springboks has contributed heavily to the Sharks’ poor showing in the inter-provincial competition over the years. Something that Sharks coach John Plumtree admitted adversely affected the side.
“Obviously the dynamics of the Currie Cup have changed a lot because of the amount of players we lose.
“We do suffer a lot from players leaving but we’ve also still got some really good players in this squad. It’s about building this group into a team.”
Plumtree added that he would not be placing too much emphasis on winning the Cup so early in the season.
“The problem you’ve got when a trophy hasn’t been won for so long is that it starts to become an issue. This is a really long competition and all we are interested in at the moment is beating Western Province in our first match. Winning the Currie Cup is something I’ll start worrying about in October, not now.
“We have a piece of white paper that is blank at the moment and we will aim to progress every training session and every match and see where we finish off.
“I’m certainly not going to burden the players with not having won the Currie Cup for so long. It’s an old story that’s getting pretty boring.”
Muller said the hunger to rectify their Super 14 “disappointment” and past failures in the Currie Cup was growing every day, but agreed that worrying about the final now would serve no purpose.
“The Currie Cup final is only on October 25 and that is a long way away… we have to focus on the process and the end result will look after itself. We want to climb those steps and make sure we are ready and peak by the time October comes.”
The Sharks travel to Welkom where they will come up against the Griffons in a compulsory friendly. Next weekend they face Western Province in their first Currie Cup encounter.Tweet