It’s the big one, the Currie Cup Final, the showpiece of local South African Rugby in the longest standing rugby tournament in World Rugby, and the Sharks host Western Province in what is sure to be a cracking encounter.
The Sharks have opted to strengthen their forward pack, recalling the likes of Beast Mtawarira, Craig Burden and Willem Alberts, while Steven Sykes is allowed to play his last match in a Sharks jersey before heading down the coast to the Kings. The backline is unchanged from the combinations that did the job against the Bulls in the rain last week, and with more rain expected for this match, we can expect much the same from the Sharks in terms of kicking and playing the territory game.
Western Province got into the final with a try in injury time against the Lions last week, and have kept a mostly unchanged team, with the exception of bring Damian de Allende into midfield in place of regular vice-captain Marcel Brache. Western Province themselves have had their fair share of wet game time, and both teams will not use the weather as an excuse for losing this match.
Interestingly, Western Province hold the record for winning the Currie Cup the most times, with 31, while the Sharks trail quite some way back with only 6 victories, the first coming 1990, while Province’s last victory came in 2001.
Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Jandré Marais, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Odwa Ndungane.
Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Don Armand, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Deon Carstens, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Marcel Brache, 22 Joe Pietersen.Tweet