Remembering the titans

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 25 Feb 2008 at 14:14

In 1990 they weren’t called ‘the Sharks’: it was ‘Natal’. If memory serves it had been a difficult Currie Cup season for Natal. They won some, lost some, were by turns great and awful. Nothern Transvaal (‘the Bulls’, for those of you born only recently), by contrast had been in awesome form, smashing all opposition (including Natal in the first-round match). Unsurprisingly, Northern Transvaal were to play in the Currie Cup final at Loftus. Surprisingly, their opponents turned out to be Natal.

I was working at Unisa – in Pretoria, the beating blue heart of Northern Transvaal Rugby. Every morning we adjourned to a tea-room for a bit of refreshment and informed (read ‘one-eyed’) commentary on last Saturday’s Northerns victory, or next Saturday’s impending ditto. As the final drew near, and Natal somehow squeaked into contention, the commentary became vitriolic. How could it be, my colleagues enquired, that the system could match the magnificent Pretoria Machine against the no-hopers from the Coast? How was it possible the SARFU did not see the necessity for calling-off the so-called ‘Final’ and awarding the trophy to Northern Transvaal as their just reward for a magnificent season?

Teatime on the Friday before the match was particularly difficult for me: I was a known Natal supporter and no punches were pulled to spare my feelings. It was loudly and repeatedly speculated that Northern Transvaal would win by a points-differential of 100 or more. I kept my head down and said nothing: privately I suspected that they might be right.

Well, history has a funny way of twisting things. In the dying moments of the match Tony Watson scored a try for Natal, and was late-tackled in the in-goal area by Gerbrand Grobler. Joel Stransky goaled the conversion and the Ref then awarded a penalty on the centre-spot for the late tackle. Stransky goaled that also, to win the match.

On the following Monday I received a standing ovation in the tea-room. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I was wearing a Natal jersey.

Sharksworld would like to thank petedylan (so named ‘cos he’s my dad!) for submitting this piece. Remember guys – we’re always looking for stories to publish, so please, if you feel at any literary leanings whatsoever, please send in the results!


  • Nice one Pete! Brent Russell’s dad wrote a similar article for his website last year.

  • Comment 1, posted at 25.02.08 14:17:13 by Nessa Reply
  • Yep! Those were the days…although we have no cups to show for it…we are regarded as one of the best rugby teams…and our time to get some silverware is just around the corner. Sharks forever!

  • Comment 2, posted at 25.02.08 14:34:58 by blackshark Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Love the piece. May pen my traumatic love lost/ sharks defeat story one day.

  • Comment 3, posted at 25.02.08 14:52:01 by billy Reply
  • This isn’t Billy from Dublin is it?

  • Comment 4, posted at 25.02.08 14:53:35 by Nessa Reply
  • billy – you must!

  • Comment 5, posted at 25.02.08 14:57:58 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Nope. JHB. Formally Durban, King Williams Town, Queenstown and Zim.

  • Comment 6, posted at 25.02.08 15:05:05 by billy Reply

  • I used to blog on the Sharks website with a guy called Billy – and he disappeared from the site a long time ago. Was just wondering.

    I am also from Jhb.

  • Comment 7, posted at 25.02.08 15:06:18 by Nessa Reply

  • Nice to meet you.

    Have to ask, is Fred as good looking as reported?

  • Comment 8, posted at 25.02.08 15:20:09 by billy Reply

  • i think he has beautiful hands 😉

    If only his teammates knew how to read them

  • Comment 9, posted at 25.02.08 15:30:48 by robdylan Reply
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  • To be honest with you – the girls at my house on Saturday said he isn’t as good looking as they thought he was. He also looked smaller (in build) than they thought he would be.

  • Comment 10, posted at 25.02.08 15:31:24 by Nessa Reply

  • Amazing what proper lighting and a little air-brushing can achieve 🙂

  • Comment 11, posted at 25.02.08 15:42:00 by Waz Reply

  • smaller (in build)… glad you chose to clarify that point 😉

  • Comment 12, posted at 25.02.08 15:44:34 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • What’s going on here then??? 😯

    And to think that I was denied my Big Fish’s Hot Chix thread… 🙁


  • Comment 13, posted at 25.02.08 15:49:44 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • :mrgreen:

  • Comment 14, posted at 25.02.08 15:50:14 by Waz Reply

  • Now now boys! You obviously haven’t seen the Fred (hot, hot) video! If any of you can compete with that – be my guest. 😀

  • Comment 15, posted at 25.02.08 15:52:33 by Nessa Reply

  • Shot Nessa – thanks for making us all feel insecure now.

    The telling silence should be all the answer you need… 😳


  • Comment 16, posted at 25.02.08 16:01:09 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • :mrgreen:

  • Comment 17, posted at 25.02.08 16:03:19 by Nessa Reply

  • Can I post photos from 6 years ago? 😛

  • Comment 18, posted at 25.02.08 16:05:21 by Waz Reply

  • Photos of who Waz? 😈

  • Comment 19, posted at 25.02.08 16:08:24 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • He also looked smaller (in build) than they thought he would be.

    25.02.08 15:31:24 – Nessa Edit

    :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
    Now why on earth did you feel the need to clarify?????? 🙄

  • Comment 20, posted at 25.02.08 16:11:06 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Waz – I don’t want to see any photos like that of you thank you very much!!!

    BF – he is talking about photos of himself before his two children were born and he didn’t have time to go to the gym anymore.

    KSA – hello there. Now you see why I HAD to clarify. 😈

  • Comment 21, posted at 25.02.08 16:15:05 by Nessa Reply

  • Suntory Sungoliath upset Sanyo Wild Knights 14-10 to claim the Microsoft Cup and Top League title following an exciting final at Chichibunomiya Stadium on Sunday.

    Okay so Epi Taione (Paddy Power) played for the Wild Knights, his Japanese season is over. I hope he is on the plane already.

    May be a bit early to use him in the S14 but 15-20min at loftus should get him into the swing of things nice and quick.

  • Comment 22, posted at 25.02.08 16:17:04 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Nessa.

    You obviously know these guys better than I do. 🙂

  • Comment 23, posted at 25.02.08 16:18:25 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • KSA – I’ll tell you a little secret – Waz is my son.

  • Comment 24, posted at 25.02.08 16:19:18 by Nessa Reply

  • Good news, KSA

  • Comment 25, posted at 25.02.08 16:20:06 by robdylan Reply
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  • Nessa.

    So you actually HAVE pics like that from WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY back of him already. 🙂

  • Comment 26, posted at 25.02.08 16:22:12 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • I do – realy nudie pics too!

    Off to fight the traffic home (again). The story of my life! Be good!

  • Comment 27, posted at 25.02.08 16:23:34 by Nessa Reply

  • Rob

    Yeah let’s hope he is ready and raring to go.

    I have a little concern though. In the first few rounds of the Jap league he was interviewed a few times and he was almost always mentioned in the post match articles. In the last two rounds though there has been NO mention of him.

  • Comment 28, posted at 25.02.08 16:25:26 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Cheers Nessa drive safely.

  • Comment 29, posted at 25.02.08 16:26:29 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • maybe he’s been saving himself for the Sharks, KSA…

    Cheers Nass.

  • Comment 30, posted at 25.02.08 16:51:55 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Yeah I’ll never forget that game – we were 199% the ultimate underdogs, even the local KZN papers all but said we needed a divine miracle…

    Rob, how sure are you it was Gerbrand Grobler who made the late tackle? Was it not perhaps Deon Oosthuysen? Trying to find info on the web & can’t get an answer…

    Hmmm, anyone got the teams for the day? Out of my head I have:
    Banana Boys:
    15-Hugh Reece-Edwards
    14-Tony Watson
    13-Jeremy Thompson
    12-Dick Muir
    11-Christie Noble
    10-Joel Stransky
    9 -Craig Jamieson
    8- Andy Aitken
    7- Andrew Blakeway (?)
    6- Wahl Bartmann (c)
    5- Steve Atherton
    4- Vleis Visagie
    3- Lood Muller (?)
    2- John Allan
    1- Guy Kebble
    16-who was our reserve hooker?
    17-didn’t we have an Aussie prop?
    18-Andre Botha
    19-John Plumtree
    21-Henry Coxwell

    Blue Bulls:
    15-Gerbrand Grobler
    14-Deon Oosthuysen
    13-Jannie Claasens
    12-FA Meiring
    11-Jacques Olivier (????)
    10-Naas Botha
    9 -Robert du Preez
    8 -Pote Fourie
    7 –
    6 –
    5 -Drikus Hattingh (???)
    4 -Adolf Malan
    3 -Jan Lock
    2 -Uli Schmidt (aka the thug who ended Tony Watson’s career)
    1 –

  • Comment 31, posted at 25.02.08 17:01:30 by Le Requinny Reply
  • It was my dad what wrote it, Q, not me!

  • Comment 32, posted at 25.02.08 17:06:15 by robdylan Reply
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  • lol, you’re meant to check ALL facts Rob 😉

  • Comment 33, posted at 25.02.08 17:06:41 by Le Requinny Reply
  • he he…


    Atherton was at 7 that day… late surprise witch by Mac

  • Comment 34, posted at 25.02.08 17:09:35 by robdylan Reply
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  • I could easily be wrong, but did Gerbrand not score the Bulls try that game? (back in the day when tries = 6pts)… I actually liked old Gerbrand, he was a very talented sportsman – also played NTVL cricket as a handy allrounder.

    This is going to bother me now…

  • Comment 35, posted at 25.02.08 17:09:46 by Le Requinny Reply
  • If memory has not deserted me I also think it was the late Gerbrandt Grobbelaar that dived (went in with his knees) onto Tony Watson after he had scored. Craig Jamieson was captain and Tom Lawton was the Aussie prop.

  • Comment 36, posted at 25.02.08 17:16:25 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • As for Gerbrandt Grobelaar(sp), he had a bit of a rough edge about him but he always gave everything for his teams (cricket and rugby)- the type of chap one would choose to go to war alongside you.

  • Comment 37, posted at 25.02.08 17:19:51 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Tom Lawton was at hooker

  • Comment 38, posted at 25.02.08 17:22:22 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • hmmm, ok then, I stand corrected
    Tom Lawton – yesss, that’s the one
    Ja grobler definitely had a rough edge, right even down to his fabulous mullet but he was a good sportsman. Not the most spectacular, but solid. Was he not a midweek Bok before he died?

  • Comment 39, posted at 25.02.08 17:22:36 by Le Requinny Reply
  • did Lawton start then or was Allan on the bench?
    My brain is like a sieve, I honestly can’t recall 100%

    Anyone know a good site that lists teams for past Currie Cup finals – without having to do extensive digging…?

  • Comment 40, posted at 25.02.08 17:24:13 by Le Requinny Reply
  • I also thought that Lawton was a hooker- oi the memory.
    The feats of this team should have a permanent place on the Sharks website – it was such a huge day in Natal rugby, winning the Currie Cup for the first time in their centenary year and also doing it at Fortress Loftus from a hugely underdog position.

    Robdylan – your dad is correct in that the Northern Transvaalers were openly talking and reporting (Beeld) that a new record score for a Currie Cup final was going to be set.

  • Comment 41, posted at 25.02.08 17:34:54 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • always nice to prove those okes wrong…

    Are we set for another memorable Loftus result this weekend?

  • Comment 42, posted at 25.02.08 17:42:40 by robdylan Reply
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  • The teams as they appear in the book “team of the 90’s


    15. Hugh Reece-Edwards
    14. Tony Watson
    13. Jeremy Thomson
    12. Dick Muir
    11. Christie Noble
    10. Joel Stransky
    9. Craig Jamieson
    8. Andrew Aitken
    7. Steve Atherton
    6. Wahl Bartmann
    5. Vleis Visagie
    4. Andre Botha
    3. Gerhard Harding
    2. Tom Lawton
    1. Guy Kebble

  • Comment 43, posted at 25.02.08 17:49:48 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Gerhard Harding! Any truth to the rumour that he had a glass eye?

  • Comment 44, posted at 25.02.08 17:56:06 by robdylan Reply
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  • NTVL team as appears in the same book

    15. Gerbrand Grobler
    14. Deon Oosthuysen (Egoli actor)
    13. Theo v Rensburg
    12. Jannie Claasen
    11. Hendrik Kruger
    10. Naas Botha
    9. Robert Du Preez
    8. Rudolf Straeuli
    7. Johan lamprecht
    6. Pote Fourie
    5. Andre Skinner
    4. Adolf Malan
    3. Jan Lock
    2. Uli Schmidt
    1. Heinrich Rogers

  • Comment 45, posted at 25.02.08 17:57:08 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • aaaa-haaa!

    Yeah, I agree with Salmonoid – that Sharks team should have a special “hall of fame” page on the Sharks website or something. Feat of the cetenary that was!

    KSA you don’t by any chance have the Natal reserves do you? I specifically want to know who our reserve scrummie was & if we had another utility back barring Coxwell on the bench.

    As for the Bulls – Theo van Renburg, Strooili & heinrich Rogers – of course! Can honestly say I recall diddly squat about 11. Hendrik Kruger, 7. Johan lamprecht & even 5. Andre Skinner.

  • Comment 46, posted at 25.02.08 18:11:47 by Le Requinny Reply
  • 25.02.08 17:16:25 – Salmonoid

    wasn’t that Uli Schmidt who made sure he smashed into Tony Watson’s face ❓

  • Comment 47, posted at 25.02.08 18:43:38 by yossarian Reply

  • Uli buggered Watson’s face a few years later… I think it was in 93. Uli was playing for Transvaal at the time.

  • Comment 48, posted at 25.02.08 18:49:19 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Quinny

    They only name the reserves who actually played
    Plumtree on for Atherton

    Philip Schutte on for Andre Skinner

  • Comment 49, posted at 25.02.08 18:50:30 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • The Book publishes the names in a strange order for some reason.

    Reece, Watson, Thomson, Noble, Muir, Stransky, Jamieson, Aitken, Atherton, Visagie, Botha, Bartmann, Harding, Lawton, Kebble.

    If that team is published by number then Noble was at 12 and Muir was at 11. So I made the correction. Also it would put Bartmann at 4 and Visagie at 6 so i made the correction.

    I made the same corrections with the Ntvl Side presuming the strange sequence was applied to both sides.

  • Comment 50, posted at 25.02.08 19:03:12 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • 25.02.08 18:49:19 – robdylan
    Oh yeah, right. I researched – Uli was 1993. In 1990 it was centre Jannie Claassens who landed on Watson after the try and was then penalised.

  • Comment 51, posted at 25.02.08 19:03:28 by yossarian Reply

  • In 1990 it was centre Jannie Claassens who landed on Watson after the try and was then penalised.

    Yes! I knew it!

    (we had the Natal Cetenary video at home & I must have watched that game 100 times – I know I would have hated Gerbrand had it been him)

    As for Uli & Watson, that was either ’93 or ’94 in the most blatant dirty “tackle” ever. He literally went into the tackle with his knee lined up to Watson’s face. Unbelievably the ref “saw nothing” nor was he ever severely punished – this after the incident was as clear as day;light for all & sundry to see on tv. THE most shocking “tackle” ever. Now if BOD had been the recipient…

    Honestly, Uli reminds me of a pittbull. He always seemed quite a decent guy, respectable off the pitch but on it he was a cold-blooded thug. Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde.

  • Comment 52, posted at 25.02.08 19:13:19 by Le Requinny Reply

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