The Sharks will face a mammoth task on Saturday when they travel to Cape Town to face the defending champions, Western Province, in the final of the ABSA Currie Cup. It will however not be unfamiliar territory for these two provinces as they contested for the cup last year down in Durban.
The Sharks should be all familiar with Currie Cup Finals as it will be their 5th final in 6 years, the disappointing bit is that they have only won two out of four. In 2008 they beat the Bulls to end a 12 year dry spell, and 2010 they had another successful campaign when they beat Western Province at home. In 2011 they lost to the Lions and last year to Western Province at home.
Sharks fans will hold that 2010 final close to their hearts, when Patrick Lambie rose to the occasion and scored 25 of his teams 30 points. Likewise for Province fans they will hope for a repeat of last year final when Demetri Catrakilis scored 17 out of his teams 25 points.
Province will enter the weekend’s final as overwhelming favourites as they have won 8 out 10 with 2 draws. There has been very little between these two sides, as Province won with 4 points in Durban and by 6 points in Cape Town.
Players to watch for Province would be Duane Vermeulen, Deon Fourie and Demetri Catrakilis. Vermeulen has been vital for Province since returning from the Rugby Championship, getting turnover ball is his job and he is doing a good job at it. Fourie is always a thorn in the flesh for any team, and if there is one player to score a try and swing the game in Provinces favour I’ll put my money on Fourie. I can’t think of bad game from Catrakilis since that 2012 final. Catrakilis was a key member of the Southern Kings Super Rugby campaign this year and since returning from injury he would not only want to show Allister Coetzee what he missed during Super Rugby but also show Heyneke Meyer that he needs to take him with on the EOYT to the Northern Hemisphere.
For the Sharks, players like Keegan Daniel, Bismarck du Plessis and Patrick Lambie will have to play big roles if they want to secure a win at Newlands. Daniel has been struggling during the earlier part of the season but has really stepped up his game and leadership, a moment of brilliance from Daniel might be all the Sharks need to take it away from Province. Some might say Bismarck is a liability and shouldn’t be playing in the final after what happened last week against the Cheetahs. Setting that incident aside, Bismarck is an asset to any side, with his ability to win turnover ball and acting as an extra loose forward and big ball carrier, but nothing less then a 100% focus on the game will be needed to show why he is the best hooker in the country. After missing out on some valuable game time while being part of the Springbok set up during the Rugby Championship, Lambie seemed to have reignited that spark last week and brought back memories of that 2010 final. The Sharks would need Lambie to quickly find his confidence as he would be vital in leading and directing play on Saturday.
Will it be a Fourie or Daniel moment of brilliance, Vermeulen or Bismarck responsible for a vital turn over, Catrakilis or Lambie’s ability to control and directing play that will determine a winner in Saturdays final?Tweet