A final for the rugby romantics in all of us

Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 28 Oct 2011 at 11:59
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The Rugby World Cup might have taken some shine of the Currie Cup this year, but this weekend’s final is for the rugby romantic in all of us.

It is a contest which could easily be viewed as David vs. Goliath!  The pretenders vs. the champions, the fairy-tale vs. reality or the obvious…

On the one hand you have a union and their fans that have been through just about every single low imaginable on all levels whilst waiting 12 years now for any meaningful silverware, and on the other, the Manchester United of rugby clubs…  One year is a very long time in rugby, 12 years an eternity, so you might be surprised that I found myself drawing some parallels from a similar event staged 21 years ago.

It was the Currie Cup final of 1990, Natal (as it was known then) had to travel to Loftus for the final against the heavily fancied Northern Transvaal, the team (if memory serves) which gave them a bit of a hiding in the pool stages just weeks prior the final. Of course I don’t need to remind any Sharks supporter what happened in that final.  Natal won the final 18-12 after the infamous Tony Watson ‘9-point try’ and the union raised the Currie Cup for the first time in their history in their centenary year!

The parallels?

Well the Lions have not waited and suffered for 100 years but 12 years in itself is an eternity for any union especially in the professional era.  Like the Banana Boys of the 1990 final, they are serious underdogs who got thumped by a 50-pointer by the same team they now play in the final – add the experience and depth of the Sharks, and you would be a brave man to put any sort of money on the Lions even if they are playing at home.  In fact, their most recent home record in finals is even counting heavily against them!

I heard some Sharks supporters adopting that famous old Blue Bulls line of ‘It is South Africa against us this game’ but seriously, what do you expect?  People just love a fairy-tale ending and in the professional era where we have lost so much of rugby’s romanticism associated with the game as an amateur sport, you can bet your bottom dollar that folks would much rather want to see the impossible become possible, the unlikely become likely, the underdogs beating the big dogs…

Before the start of the Rugby World Cup I wrote a column in which I stated that world rugby cannot afford for the All Blacks not to win the event, my reasoning was somewhat commercial, but mainly centred around the point of the ‘magic’ that will get lost if that was to be the case.

Coaches, players and supporters invest a massive amount of emotional energy into the game of rugby union, and given emotion is almost never logical, when it gets repaid by an illogical result or event, we all start believing in the game again.

Last night while I was thinking what to write on the subject of the Currie Cup final, I came across a very interesting article comparing rugby union to NFL or American Football, written by a NFL fan.  I was reminded in this article just what makes rugby union special, and it has nothing to do with having the best players, the most money, or the most experience – it is about the camaraderie between everyone involved in the game including the supporters, it is about being part of not only your team, but the whole rugby family.  It is about the chemistry and intimacy between individuals at all levels – those out on the field, and those in the stand.  It is about the magic it brings.

Rugby’s romantics were repaid in New Zealand this year, as they were in South Africa in 1995, and of course, those who watched the 1990 Currie Cup final.

In 2011, where there has been so much disappointment in the game of rugby for South Africans, we probably need some magic again – we need that belief back again that the game, more than anything else, is still quite special where anything is possible.

This is a final in which supporters of rugby will want to fall in love with the game again, and if you disagree with me or are perhaps too young to have experienced this when it did happen in 1990, then ask some of the folks on here what I mean.


  • ja whatever Morne… Sharks FTW 🙂

  • Comment 1, posted at 28.10.11 12:10:58 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 1) :


    Knew my thoughts will prove popular on here! 😈

  • Comment 2, posted at 28.10.11 12:15:11 by Morné Reply
  • Morne,

    Natal winning the 1990 Currie Cup and Boks winning the 95 World Cup will always be the greatest highlight in rugby for me and many others.

    You just can’t ever compare waiting 12 years to win a cup to a 100 years of never having won it. No you can try compare the two, it don’t work with me mate. Good try though .. 😉

  • Comment 3, posted at 28.10.11 12:24:34 by Puma Reply

  • Nice sentiments Morne.

    But I’m a bastard – was hoping NZ would lose, and I’m STILL hoping that we moer these Lions! 😈

    The romance will be in me passing tissues to the grieving Lions fans. 😉

  • Comment 4, posted at 28.10.11 13:01:00 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • So are the Sharks suposed to just hand the kitties the match cause shame poor guys have never won it in 50 years? If they whant it they need to get on the pitch and win it! Just like Jamieson and Watson had to in 1990! Nope GO SHARKS bring the Currie Cup and Hawera cup back to Durban!

  • Comment 5, posted at 28.10.11 13:02:24 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Big Fish (Comment 4) :

    I’m with you there. I thought I would support the AB’s in RWC final but before the haka was even over and the French challenge to the hake I already knew that I would cheer for the French.

    BUT I am a sucker for the underdog unless the underdog plays my beloved Sharks off course :mrgreen:

  • Comment 6, posted at 28.10.11 13:25:40 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Morne, do you have a link to that Rugby vs NFL comparison? Being a fan of both I’d be very interested in reading it.

  • Comment 7, posted at 28.10.11 13:26:14 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Well written Morne, but whatever 😉

    A warning to the people,
    The good and the evil,
    This is war.
    To the soldier, the civilian,
    The martyr, the victim,
    This is war.
    It’s the moment of truth, and the moment to lie,
    The moment to live and the moment to die,
    The moment to fight, the moment to fight
    To fight, to fight, to fight!
    To the right, To the left
    We will fight to the death!
    To the edge of the earth
    It’s a brave new world
    From the last to the first
    To the right, To the left
    We will fight to the death!
    To the edge of the earth
    It’s a brave new world
    It’s a brave new world!

  • Comment 8, posted at 28.10.11 13:32:57 by JarsonX Reply
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  • Blood in the water …

  • Comment 9, posted at 28.10.11 13:33:43 by Talent Reply
  • @vanmartin (Comment 7) :

  • Comment 10, posted at 28.10.11 13:40:56 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Natal forever strong – am going to play this CD tonight and tomorrow and thank my lucky stars to be supporting the Sharks…men, may you have a great game…bring that coveted Currie Cup right on back to the beautiful city of Durbs. Though i do not live there anymore…just a few final words…you can take the girl out of the Sharks province, but you can NEVER take the Sharks out of her heart…go Sharks!!!!!! 😀

  • Comment 11, posted at 28.10.11 13:42:18 by Anneleen Reply

  • I’m so glad it’s not a Shark supporter who said the Sharks are the Manchester United of Rugby clubs. 🙂

    We’d be crucified if WE said that. 😛

  • Comment 12, posted at 28.10.11 13:44:48 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • After reading this I almost want the Lions to win. 😆

  • Comment 13, posted at 28.10.11 13:45:44 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Pokkel (Comment 10) : Thanks! Interesting read!

  • Comment 14, posted at 28.10.11 13:51:13 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Morne, refresh my memory, did the same logic apply when the Sharks were in the 2008 final, because we hadn’t won the cup for 12 years as well.

  • Comment 15, posted at 28.10.11 14:31:06 by Bump Reply

  • @Bump (Comment 15) : no, because you guys hadn’t gone through the tumultuous time the GLRU went through, you okes were losing because you were incompetent and were buying useless imports like epi taione. 😛

  • Comment 16, posted at 28.10.11 14:36:02 by Megatron Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 12) :

    for sure 😈

    @KSA Shark © (Comment 13) :
    welcome to the dark side … we have cookies ….

    @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 5) :

    now now .. dont get all emotional .. we also want to win the cup by being the better team and not by getting it handed to us ..

    i want the Lions to win but above that i want the winner to decided on a fair ground …

    I do feel our boys are NOT lucky to be in the final . they worked dam hard and deserve to be there . If they deserve to win the cup will be decided on saterday afternoon …

  • Comment 17, posted at 28.10.11 14:37:12 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
  • @Megatron (Comment 16) : 😆

  • Comment 18, posted at 28.10.11 14:42:54 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @Megatron (Comment 16) : Epi Taione – also known as he who should not be mentioned. 😳

  • Comment 19, posted at 28.10.11 14:48:25 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 7) :

  • Comment 20, posted at 28.10.11 15:05:00 by Morné Reply
  • @Megatron (Comment 16) : Same reason the Lions were losing for that last 12 years if you ask me. 🙂

  • Comment 21, posted at 28.10.11 16:09:11 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 21) : no! you okes and WP were poaching their players! :mrgreen: 😆

  • Comment 22, posted at 28.10.11 16:37:40 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 16) : Epi would fit in well at the Kings then. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 23, posted at 28.10.11 19:33:12 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • can the powers that be please start a cricket thread on the deciding game in DURBAN.

  • Comment 24, posted at 28.10.11 20:22:34 by cody007 Reply

  • GO SHARKS!!!

  • Comment 25, posted at 29.10.11 06:01:19 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Today is the day 😛

  • Comment 26, posted at 29.10.11 07:01:14 by JarsonX Reply
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  • Go Sharks!

    – Will be interesting to see how Jean Deysel goes at 4. Needs to be convincing if he’s to keep 2 of Skeate, Hargreaves, Bresler & Marais out of the match-22 next year. I’m still leaning towards him being an impact blindside.

    – Starting forwards for next years Super rugby tournament, so they need to perform. The backline will be almost completely overhauled you’d think come the first game in 2012. Probably start McLeod again (I hope Plumtree sticks with Hoffmann if he goes well, the guy needs game time).

    Something like this I’m guessing:
    9 Charl McLeod (For me, Hoffmann)
    10 Frederic Michalak (Start Lambie here!)
    11 Lwazi Mvovo
    12 Meyer Bosman
    13 Tim Whitehead (a half-decent centre finally!)
    14 JP Pietersen
    15 Patrick Lambie (should start Riaan Viljoen here!!)

  • Comment 27, posted at 29.10.11 08:20:35 by hendrikp Reply

  • @hendrikp (Comment 27) :

    P.S. I did say they shouldn’t sign Whitehead. Still don’t think of him as a long-term solution for the Sharkies, but he’s an improvement on the lot playing in Natal at the moment 😆

  • Comment 28, posted at 29.10.11 08:26:08 by hendrikp Reply

  • Hendrikp i agree with you

  • Comment 29, posted at 29.10.11 08:34:00 by Muzi Reply

  • Some dude in the bulls website thinks big quin roux is going back home to pretoria his parents live there also.

  • Comment 30, posted at 29.10.11 08:37:00 by Muzi Reply

  • @Muzi (Comment 30) :

    Can’t see it happening. Probably just stirring ❗

    Far as I’m aware Quinn Roux claims to having been a WP supporter all his life, and made the choice to move to Cape Town. Wasn’t a case of not having opportunities elsewhere!

    Also, he’s getting opportunities playing for the seniors, and probably would’ve been part of the senior side till the very end had he not been injured!

    We’ve got a nice set of locks with Roux, Etzebeth, Elstadt & Bekker. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    Any up and coming ‘grafters’ in Pretoria? Need one more lock to go with vd Merwe, Kruger & Steenkamp hey.

  • Comment 31, posted at 29.10.11 08:43:19 by hendrikp Reply

  • L I O N S ! L I O N S ! L I O N S !

  • Comment 32, posted at 29.10.11 09:20:38 by CSB Win it for Jannie Breedt ! Reply

  • Morne being a fan of NFL I read that article on RW.. very interesting read and agree with the comparisons.

  • Comment 33, posted at 29.10.11 09:22:08 by CSB Win it for Jannie Breedt ! Reply

  • My nerves are shot !

    Perhaps a good thing that the Lions have not been in any finals matches ..

    Dunno how the Shark and Province supporters deal with it ..especially Province .. 😛

  • Comment 34, posted at 29.10.11 09:34:34 by CSB Win it for Jannie Breedt ! Reply

  • @CSB Win it for Jannie Breedt ! (Comment 33) :

    Think they hit the nail on the head with rugby needing endurance.

    Clever wouldn’t make the NFL if he tried, because as an outside linebacker you need out-and-out pace. You get tested for explosiveness etc. Something I doubt he would have.

    At the same time a guy like Ray Lewis wouldn’t have the endurance, handling skills, or the feel for the game (obviously). He’d probably have a harder time trying to play rugby then Clever would trying to play football. Especially without the padding, and tackling technique etc. It’s just such a different game. Can just imagine James Harrison leading with the head in a rugby game 😯

  • Comment 35, posted at 29.10.11 10:09:18 by hendrikp Reply

  • @hendrikp (Comment 35) : Imagine an NFL player having to play more than 2 phases.

  • Comment 36, posted at 29.10.11 10:29:40 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 36) :

    They’d be clueless! 😆

    There probably are a handful who could make it in a rugby game. I’d love to see what Adrian Peterson would do on the wing. Never rated Chris Johnson – the Titans should let him go. Don’t pay the man!

  • Comment 37, posted at 29.10.11 10:42:44 by hendrikp Reply

  • If you have ever supported a team that won a massive game as the underdogs, you would appreciate this result.

    Rugby… Life… Sport… has ups and downs, you have winners and losers. Don’t judge your team on one performance, but also don’t deny the supporters of the other team their moment in the sun.

    This article was never about a winner and a loser based on the strips you wore on the day – it was about rugby.

    Well done Sharks for reaching yet another final, tough luck in losing on the day.

    Lions… Welcome back!

  • Comment 38, posted at 29.10.11 19:35:21 by Morné Reply

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