Triumph over adversity

Written by Warren Smith (war1)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 31 Oct 2010 at 19:34
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Stefan Terblanche’s post-match speech would have given Sharks supporters the world over goosebumps. This was really a triumph against the odds, the team had finished top of the log but were still underdogs for both their home semi final and semi final. On paper the Blue Bulls and Western Province teams were stronger but the Sharks players had team spirit which was forged in the adversity earlier in the season.

Thinking back to the earlier rounds of the Super 14 where the team spirit was down, the coach was in danger of losing his job and the team had just lost 5 matches in a row. What happened next was the first turning point of the season for the Sharks. Coming up against the Highlanders in the house of pain, the Sharks dug deep and began showing the desperate team spirit which would serve them so well later to break their Super 14 2010 duck with a 30-16 win. The Sharks did not lose again until Round 12 when they came up against a Bulls side with lots of momentum at fortress Loftus. The Sharks played with spirit but did not have the game it seemed to step up to the plate and win the really difficult games.

Then came the next step up for the team when the Sharks came up against the Stormers who were pushing hard for a home semi final and the home team were generally not given much of a chance against the Stormers. What followed was another fantastic team performance where the Stormers were completely dominated upfront with the backs however not being able to convert the chances that came their way, there was still a piece missing in the Sharks puzzle.

The start of the Currie cup came and the Sharks surrendered a healthy lead against the Griquas and the critics got their knives out. The management and senior players responded well and the gameplan which would bring ultimate success was formulated. Pat Lambie was moved to inside centre and then to flyhalf as the Sharks started to find their form. The team had changed and started to dominate teams and scored more tries than any other team on their way to topping the log.

The Sharks secured top spot a week early and John Plumtree had the luxury of sending an experimental team to Newlands. The experiment did not work out so well and Province scored an alarmingly easy victory over the log leaders. Warning bells were sounded and the upshot of that result was that the Sharks were scheduled to host the defending champions the Blue Bulls in the semi final. The home team were written off, the Bulls had the finals experience and also all their vastly experienced Boks back. The underdog status seemed to fire the Sharks up and they really took the game to an almost shell-shocked Bulls team in the first half. The game changed in the second half, the Sharks had to defend, the rain came down and still the Sharks defended. An epic semi final was won and the Sharks were to host the final a fortnight later.

Their opponents in the final were Western Province who had dismissed the Cheetahs 31-7 in their semi final. WP have the game breakers “they” said, WP have the experience of playing the Super 14 final “they” said, home ground advantage doesn’t really matter in finals “they” said, the Sharks have already played their final “they” said. There was talk in the week that the Sharks were so fired up in their last practise that the coaches had to calm them down so as not to use all their energy before the big final, “they” didn’t notice that though. The Sharks started very well in the final and the two early first half tries laid the foundation for the win. The first try was a superb counterattack following a chip kick by Charl McLeod which was followed up by Lwazi Mvovo and McLeod was there to collect the pop pass from his winger and score under the posts, the second try was down to the individual brilliance of Lambie who wrong-footed the WP defense and handed off their captain and talisman Shalk Burger to dot down under the posts. Like the Bulls had done two weeks earlier WP bounced back and attacked the Sharks line and like two weeks earlier, the Sharks defense held despite wave after wave of attack from the men in blue and white. Dries Strauss was particularly destructive on defense and Willem Alberts gave the home side momentum with his monster ball carries. The win was sealed when the hero of the day, the young Pat Lambie pounced on a loose ball and nailed the Province coffin shut. Pat Lambie fell just short of Derick Hougaard’s record of 26 points in a final by scoring 25 points, the young man’s goal kicking was superb.

Stefan Terblance’s speech summed the triumph up. This was a team, and a team could beat a bunch of individuals on any given day. The “no names” had stood up and claimed the ultimate prize in South African rugby. Sharks, you have no idea how proud your fans are of you. The true epic tale was completed and I would also like to give a word of thanks to the Sharks management who turned the season around and had the courage to back the players who ended up shining and winning the Currie cup and creating an environment where the players were playing for each other.


  • Goosies all over again. You’re turning into a superb writer, war1!

  • Comment 1, posted at 31.10.10 19:38:06 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 1) : thanks Rob, you asked me for an article on the Sharks winning the Currie cup earlier in the week and I said I would write one today, there you go 😉

  • Comment 2, posted at 31.10.10 19:40:51 by war1 Reply
  • Amen to that!

  • Comment 3, posted at 31.10.10 19:41:56 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • war1, That was a superb article. Well written buddy.

  • Comment 4, posted at 31.10.10 20:19:37 by Puma Reply

  • Whoopee see I have 3 stars at last. 😎 🙂

  • Comment 5, posted at 31.10.10 20:21:38 by Puma Reply

  • I actually missed Stef’s post match speech…..was in the pub……which was LOUD and hectic. One guy in the newspaper today rated Sykes as “being like odourless Doom. Effective without drawing attention to himself.” 😀
    Couldnt say it any better.

  • Comment 6, posted at 31.10.10 20:54:18 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

  • After listening to schalk’s speech, you can see why WP were so average. No pride. He didn’t even seem upset. I’d be upset if I was province supporter with him as their captain.

  • Comment 7, posted at 31.10.10 21:58:17 by juz Reply

  • Very well put war1, filled with pride and emotion which we all feel for our team. The players may have had a bit of a bhabhalazi this morning but I bet they were still smiling. Meanwhile I surf the net searching for even more praise of that wonderful win.

  • Comment 8, posted at 01.11.10 00:21:46 by Donald Reply

  • Just watching the final again… you guys see Charl McLeod HOPPING onto the field barefoot – on one leg – after the game? Hugging anyone that would stand still long enough? MAN – what a team player.

    Charlie, you are a LEGEND!

  • Comment 9, posted at 01.11.10 01:33:40 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • just watched Schalk’s speech again. I agree with juz… it was embarrassingly flippant. If I were a WP supporter, I’d be livid. Kind of like “we didn’t pitch tonight… sorry okes… maybe we’ll pitch next year… no promises”

  • Comment 10, posted at 01.11.10 01:38:23 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • the look on Jannie’s face says it all… “I’ve got my cup back”

  • Comment 11, posted at 01.11.10 01:49:38 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • the funniest thing that happened was while lambie was setting up his last kick, bismarck ran to the the touchline and told burden to take off his bib. burden was all confused, then clicked what bis was up to. the assistent referee then started getting involved so bismarck feigned a neck injury to allow burden onto the park. the shark management also clicked and cleared the bench. i loved this moment as it just showed the team spirit at the sharks.

  • Comment 12, posted at 01.11.10 07:42:41 by try time Reply

  • it made up for bismarcks stupid quick tap that almost backfired.

  • Comment 13, posted at 01.11.10 07:44:33 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 12) : That’s awesome!

  • Comment 14, posted at 01.11.10 08:29:46 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @try time (Comment 12) : love that tt!

  • Comment 15, posted at 01.11.10 08:35:06 by ruggabugga Reply

  • I saw duane vermeulen walking around ushaka yesterday,looked like he had the worlds problems on his shoulders ,remember his prematch anti shark trash talk bwahahahaha!!

  • Comment 16, posted at 01.11.10 08:37:58 by ruggabugga Reply

  • @Letgo (Comment 14) : i thought so too. the guys on the bench deserved to be on the field. even if it was only for 2 minutes.

  • Comment 17, posted at 01.11.10 08:38:34 by try time Reply

  • What a game!!! This is the most commited Sharks team I’ve seen in many years!!!They played for the jersey and for pride!Man it feels good to be a Sharks supporter today!

  • Comment 18, posted at 01.11.10 08:50:07 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Great performance, but the speech… Sounded to me like he was auditioning for an upcoming movie! 😆

  • Comment 19, posted at 01.11.10 08:55:43 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 19) : About the articles you wrote last week…..I think the Sharks knew deep down that they were going to win the game at ANY cost and they proved it. Thanks for the inspiration 😉

  • Comment 20, posted at 01.11.10 08:59:19 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • oh and i have to admit, when i saw charl limp off at half time and not appear on the field, i did think that might be the game. but well done rory for bringing your a game instead of your “i” game.

  • Comment 21, posted at 01.11.10 09:02:02 by try time Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 20) :

    Which one would that be?

  • Comment 22, posted at 01.11.10 09:03:53 by Morné Reply
  • how was ramos getting booed by the crowd? it was a surprise, but absa were asking for it. you don’t announce your cancellation before a big game like that and then plaster the field with your advertising.

  • Comment 23, posted at 01.11.10 09:05:24 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 23) : agree… was hoping Stef would rip that stupid f*cking ABSA logo right off the bottom of the cup and feed it to her.

  • Comment 24, posted at 01.11.10 09:19:07 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 24) : 😆 😆 i can see it happening!! 😆

  • Comment 25, posted at 01.11.10 09:26:26 by VanWilder Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 24) : but as soon as the game finished all the mr price caps were on the sharks players heads. i hope the sharks get another good sponsor that gets positively involved.

  • Comment 26, posted at 01.11.10 09:27:09 by try time Reply

  • letgo, any rumours of there being a spur shark tank? 😆 or even better spur kings park.

  • Comment 27, posted at 01.11.10 09:34:17 by try time Reply

  • @Morné (Comment 22) : http://www.sharksworld.co.za/2010/10/29/the-final-is-already-decided/

  • Comment 28, posted at 01.11.10 09:53:04 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Mr Price has been an awesome sponsor and is a great example of a local company getting involved and giving back. We should all support them!

  • Comment 29, posted at 01.11.10 10:04:58 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 29) : I certainly have, MR Price Sport has become one of my favourite shops to buy clothes from.

  • Comment 30, posted at 01.11.10 10:07:14 by war1 Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 29) : I certainly have, MR Price Sport has become one of my favourite shops to buy clothes from.

  • Comment 31, posted at 01.11.10 10:07:14 by war1 Reply
  • @Pokkel (Comment 28) :

    Oh that one!

    Yeah, was a dead give-away wasn’t it?

  • Comment 32, posted at 01.11.10 10:45:04 by Morné Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 29) : I literally spend thousands at Mr Price monthly – children’s clothing from Mr Price weekender, mine and hubbys as well as kid’s sporting equipment from Mr Price Sports and my house and kitchen are filled with Mr Price Home 🙂 we were looking to finance our new caravan with ABSA they actually offered us less interest but I told hubby I seriously did not like ABSA so Saturday we signed the deal with the Standard Bank 👿

  • Comment 33, posted at 01.11.10 13:18:00 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette

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