Province have the stars – Sharks the experience

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks, WP on 28 Oct 2010 at 09:42
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Saturday’s massive Currie Cup Final showdown at Kings Park in Durban is being billed in some quarters as a battle between the superstar individuals of Western Province on the one side and the strong team work ethic of the Sharks on the other.

Sharks coach John Plumtree seems only too happy to talk down the individuals in his squad – pointing out that the Sharks boast few players of the established calibre of Schalk Burger, Bryan Habana or Jean de Villiers. In fact, if one had to do a player-by-player comparison of the teams (which we will be able to do once the Sharks confirm their lineup), it’s only really in the front row that the Sharks have a clear ascendancy, with three Springboks in Beast Mtawarira and the du Plessis brothers eclipsing their less-fancied Province opponents. The further back one goes, the more obvious the WP individual supremacy becomes, with Willem de Waal the only member of the backline who isn’t a Springbok of recent vintage.

For the Sharks, particularly at the back, Stefan Terblanche and Odwa Ndungane are the only Boks, although neither of them can is in the frame currently.

Ironically enough, though, it’s the Sharks team who boasts more experience in terms of playing in – and winning – Currie Cup finals, with 13 of the anticipated match 22 having been in a final before. Louis Ludik and Andre Pretorius have both played for the Lions in losing final efforts, but 11 other players were in the Sharks 22 when they captured the famous golden cup against the Blue Bulls in 2008. Jannie du Plessis, of course, has quite famously never lost in a Currie Cup final and was understood to be quite annoyed when his “perfect record” of consecutive winner’s medals was brought to a halt by the Sharks’ loss in the 2009 semi. Du Plessis won with the Cheetahs in 2005, 2006 (shared) and 2007 and was also a part of the Sharks squad that won in 2008.

Province, on the other hand, have few players who have played in the Currie Cup final – and none of them have ever done so wearing a Western Province jersey, since the last time the team made it to the final of the premier domestic showcase was in 2001. Both Willem de Waal and Bryan Habana have played in a number of finals, with the former boasting a better win ratio (3/4) than the former Bulls winger, who has only been on the winning side in one of the three finals he’s played. Nobody in the current Province side played in the 2000 or 2001 finals against the Sharks, although current Sharks skipper Stefan Terblanche was there on both occasions. Jeez, how old IS this guy?

The Sharks will be hoping that the shared memory of what it took to win that final two years ago will settle their nerves a little bit more easily than Province’s, since the weight of expectation on the Cape side will be huge, given their massive salary bill, yet relatively poor return in terms of trophies. Teamwork and pride in the jersey have emerged as a hallmark of this year’s campaign, just as it did back in 2008 and with their home crowd in full voice and baying for blood, Sharks fans and management alike will be hoping for the sort of gutsy performance that the Sharks produced against the Bulls two weeks ago. Whether it will be enough to upset a Western Province side boasting individual superstars more numerous than the hairs on my head – any of whom can turn a game with a moment of brilliance – remains to be seen.


  • The BIGGEST question remains;

    Will the Sharks be able to turn out another performance like they did against the Bulls?

    Because that, or something very close will be needed to win this Saturday.

  • Comment 1, posted at 28.10.10 09:46:57 by Morné Reply
  • i reckon the Sharks are the kings in ‘massive salary bill & little return’ stakes considering how they’ve bought nearly all of free state & majority of their flyhalfs in past years…how much value did the sharks extract out juan martin hernandez?

  • Comment 2, posted at 28.10.10 09:49:54 by Megatron Reply

  • @Morné (Comment 1) : we will need an even more complete performance than that. We’ve shown we can play like that…but to win this game, we need to play like that consistently.

    But then again, let’s turn that around. Province are hardly the kings of consistency…

  • Comment 3, posted at 28.10.10 09:55:47 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Megatron (Comment 2) :


    Keep beating that drum bru!! 😈 😉

  • Comment 4, posted at 28.10.10 10:02:38 by wpw Reply
  • GO SHARKS !!! Black & White ! Nothing else matters ! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 5, posted at 28.10.10 10:08:16 by Charlie Reply

  • Hmmm. We’re going to have to play an attacking game to beat WP. If we play a final type game, WP will be the only team to get points with tries. We have to take it to them. We can not win using the old JW best in defense logic, I don’t think.

  • Comment 6, posted at 28.10.10 10:10:40 by rugbypedia Reply

  • Rob, is there a sense of uncertainty in you “voice”. Cmon now, what about not sitting back, being confident and not saying “if”, but rather “when”.
    @wpw (Comment 4) : Will keep beating it, on Monday as well…

  • Comment 7, posted at 28.10.10 10:20:30 by SharksRTB Reply

  • Please do not upset Jannie this time 😀

  • Comment 8, posted at 28.10.10 10:24:15 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • @Morné (Comment 1) : my thinking exactly – if they do : WP will definately loose.

    But I hope that winning against the Bulls did not go straight to their heads 🙄

  • Comment 9, posted at 28.10.10 10:26:13 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • When I played for the 1 team,we had the best back line in the competition,the news paper even said so,everybody made a scene this is the year etc. we won teams that we could’t in 10 years and all that as long as the forwards could provide good quality ball,but they were the baddest in the competition and when it came to crunch time in the season,we got our asses handed to us because our forwards were dominated and we didn’t get go forward ball.
    I know this isn’t 1 team but I goy a feeling same story here for wp in the final.

  • Comment 10, posted at 28.10.10 10:26:34 by Honey Badger Reply

    Honey Badger
  • @Honey Badger (Comment 10) : What position did you play?

  • Comment 11, posted at 28.10.10 10:49:18 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Morné (Comment 1) : Never mind all that. You just need to jinx WP for us by predicting a win for them this weekend 😉

  • Comment 12, posted at 28.10.10 10:52:47 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Letgo (Comment 11) : 15 for the most part but also 10,11.

    Didn’t want me at 10 because I always started to attack from our line when I saw the wings at the back 😈

  • Comment 13, posted at 28.10.10 20:58:03 by Honey Badger Reply

    Honey Badger

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