The stage is set for a cracker

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks, WP on 27 Oct 2017 at 11:23
Tagged with :

The funny thing about finals is that they are pretty much ALWAYS 50-50 games. It’s a rather unpalatable truth, particularly if your team is the one with the home ground advantage and the favourites tag, but the additional pressure on players, coaches and match officials alike tends to really upset the odds every time a game of this magnitude is played.

I’m just thinking back to the last two finals between the Sharks and Western Province, played in 2012 and 2013. In 2012, the Sharks boasted a team chock full of Boks and were playing at home after a superb domestic season. There was simply no way they could lose to a young WP team that boasted virtually no established names. In 2013, those tables were turned and it was the Sharks who – after a year of massive upheaval – headed to Cape Town with a new and rather untried team against a settled and formidable Province outfit, with only a scant chance of tasting success. On both of those occasions, the wrong team won – and these are hardly isolated cases. Think of the Highlanders’ Super Rugby win in 2015, the Cheetahs Currie Cup trophy theft in 2005 or, dare we say it, the Bulls’ Super Rugby triumph in 2007? Finals rugby does no favours to the home side and tends to treat a favourites tag with scant respect.

If you speak to coaches faced with a rebuilding job, they’ll typically talk about building a team capable of contesting finals. The challenge is always to improve your team and your squad to the point where they are regularly participating in these showpiece games, knowing that as they build that experience and put themselves in the “right place” to have a shot at a trophy, those trophy wins will come. Coaches know better that anyone that there are no guarantees in a final and that the bounce of the ball or a 50-50 call from a match official are just as likely to decide the outcome as a moment of magic from either one of your own players – or one of the opposition.

This year could not be more so. Looking at the two teams picked to contest tomorrow’s Currie Cup Final, there are entertaining match-ups all over the park but a definite absence of clear superiority on one side or the other. The packs are both strong and boast a solid set piece – both sides have experience 9s and dynamic young 10s. There’s pace and power in either backline, but also a formidable defensive capability and record on either side. Picking a winner – even on paper – is a tough job and when you add the unpredictable nature of a final into the mix, the reality is that this one, truly, is anyone’s for the taking.

So my advice Sharks fans, is that we should applaud our team for the fantastic work they’ve done in getting to and hosting this final. Take comfort from the massive strides taken and look forward to the future as we build on the foundation work of this campaign. Enjoy the final as it’s sure to be a massive spectacle, but don’t expect that the Sharks have some predestined right to walk away with the trophy. I’m certainly hoping to be a gracious winner come tomorrow evening, but if the ball doesn’t bounce that way, I’m going to try even harder to be gracious in defeat.

After all, at least we know that the winning flyhalf will play in Durban next year!

Good luck Sharks and thanks for a great campaign.

Sharks: 15 Garth April, 14 Kiobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Tristan Blewett, 23 Rhyno Smith.

Western Province: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Kobus van Dyk, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Werner Kok, 23 Dan Kriel.


  • What??! Is Robert du Preez coming to the Sharks????

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.10.17 11:38:44 by jakkalas Reply
  • Very correct, this could be tight for the full 80min. In finals you always need a bit of luck or fortune in some way that will turn a game. At least the trophy will be in Durban tomorrow…lets hope it likes the view and decides to stay.

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.10.17 11:39:26 by SheldonK Reply
  • @jakkalas (Comment 1) : yes, that’s what we believe.

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.10.17 11:43:47 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : Brilliant!!

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.10.17 11:48:30 by jakkalas Reply

  • Rob, you already mentioned that we signed Rob dP jnr, but why are the Sharks not announcing this? Waiting until WP and Jnr beat us like the stormers did with Jones as coach after Japan beat the boks? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.10.17 11:52:24 by HeinF Reply

  • I am unbelievably nervous for this game, and equal parts excited – hoping the fans turn up and hoping the trophy comes home!

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.10.17 12:04:10 by Richard Reply

  • @HeinF (Comment 5) : well that’s one way to look at it. But reality is signings are often only announced after the player has completed his commitments with his current club.

    I mean, Rob moving to the Sharks has been reported literally 50 or more times already in mainstream media. Everyone knows it’s happening. the player has probably requested that the Sharks don’t annouce it formally until the CC is over because he thinks that’s the right thing to do.

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.10.17 12:05:42 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : So do we player manage Rob and Curwin in the 10 position, or develop one of them as an out and out first choice 10 with the other being deployed at 15? Your thoughts if you were coach? It is a fantastic signing either way!

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.10.17 12:08:11 by Richard Reply

  • Think those words are fitting thanks Rob! I’m silently confident, very very nervous though… Black and White, Nothing else matters, The Sharks forever!

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.10.17 12:16:11 by DuToit04 Reply

  • @Richard (Comment 8) : Bosch is a 15 but can do a very useful job at 10. Rob would be my choice at 10.

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.10.17 12:25:47 by SheldonK Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : Fair enough, it does make sense and commendable if he wished to keep it quiet until the end of his current contract. I always just get a bit worried, I think after his last couple of games WP might wish they tried a little harder to keep him there.
    To be honest, if it was announced a few weeks ago, a lot of people would have wondered if we only signed him because of his dad, but the last few games he got back to the kind of form that saw him play for the barbarians last year. Nobody can doubt he is a quality 10.

  • Comment 11, posted at 27.10.17 12:37:10 by HeinF Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 10) : Agreed but I would like for the Sharks to commit to specific role for Bosch as I want him to have proper development and become a specialist in a certain position and only when injuries/fatigue forces our hand should he drop into the other position he’s covering whether it be 10 or 15.

  • Comment 12, posted at 27.10.17 12:37:39 by Quintin Reply

  • @HeinF (Comment 11) : What I really like about him is his mentality, for most, facing the team your father is coaching would be intimidating but he seems to embrace it and keep his best performances for those games. I think it’s almost as good as having BMT.

  • Comment 13, posted at 27.10.17 12:42:31 by Quintin Reply

  • @HeinF (Comment 5) : Especially now that WP are playing Sharks in a CC final. It probably not the best time to make the announcement.

  • Comment 14, posted at 27.10.17 13:00:14 by coolfusion Reply

  • @Quintin (Comment 12) : In an ideal situation yes.However, i see more and more players having to be interchangeable in various positions in the modern game. Dont get me wrong a player shouldnt be shunted from one position to aother constantly but i think a player must be adapt at least in two positions. Guys that can only function at one position, barring front row and scrumhalf, are quite difficult to fit into a team/squad these days

  • Comment 15, posted at 27.10.17 13:18:03 by SheldonK Reply

  • Here is one to lighten the anxiety of the CC final. Imagine when the du Preez boys all play together in the ‘Bok team as well as next years SR, it will confuse the foreign contingent no end! 😆 Question:- Apart from the du Plessis brothers (not Jannie and Bissie) but Willie, Michael and Carel, which other family has had 3 or more playing at the same time in either the provincial or national side? Just asking. 😀

  • Comment 16, posted at 27.10.17 13:24:41 by markm Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 15) : It also messes their confidence. Lambie is case in point and then Frans Steyn. They did the same with Ruan Pienaar in the beginning using him as SH and FH and wherever. Hougaard was another one. Horses for courses,I say 😀

  • Comment 17, posted at 27.10.17 13:29:35 by markm Reply

  • @markm (Comment 17) : Lambie should have stayed at 15- he was really good there. Frans Steyn should have stayed at 12 after that world cup- again he was really good there. Still think Pienaar is better suited to 10 but anyway. Just interesting that a lot of this shuffling is because of a shortage at 10

  • Comment 18, posted at 27.10.17 13:41:28 by SheldonK Reply

  • NZ have the Barretts and the Whitelocks (there were 4) and Tuilagi’s (lots of them 😀 ).

  • Comment 19, posted at 27.10.17 13:42:49 by markm Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 18) : Agreed. Haven’t had a coach or DOR willing or able to grow a pair and tell the national setup to stop playing poker with their players livelihood. In the modern game, we have had a number of relatively good players coming through, only to be pushed out of position just to play for their country. Here is something I have thought about:- Are we (using this as third person 😀 ) really training up our players into the position they are best suited to or the position their heroes played in? And then looking at how international players are managed,if they are succeeding, why don’t we take heed of that? Was looking at the earning power of some of the rugby players in Europe and I was shocked. A Japanese rugby player is one of the highest earners in the world at over 1000000 euros per season! Take my hat off to you Goramura (hope I spelled it correctly). Top earning SA player in Europe is HAbana on 440000 Euro. Huge gap. 🙄

  • Comment 20, posted at 27.10.17 13:56:55 by markm Reply

  • A large part of the destination of the Currie Cup will be determined by the “hunger” shown by the teams!!! Sharks will have to lift their intensity to where it was prior to the WP game if they want to be champions!!!

  • Comment 21, posted at 27.10.17 14:18:36 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • To get me even more into the mood for this game I just watched the 2010 final.

    1) 52,000 fans at Kings Park for a Currie Cup final
    2) Our defence was nothing short of demonic
    3) 52,000 fans at Kings Park for a Currie Cup final
    4) Our hunger was palpable
    5) 52,000 fans at Kings Park for a Currie Cup final
    6) Our defence was nothing short of demonic – Ludik, Strauss, Alberts ate the opposition
    7) The rise of Sir Patrick, not going to lie, I literally shed a tear
    8) 52,000 fans at Kings Park for a Currie Cup final
    9) We pumped Province by 20 points

    Have we ever played with more aggression as a unit? Who recalls Lwazi burning Aplon on cover defence and on attack? Holy Hell, that was a game of rugby.

  • Comment 22, posted at 27.10.17 17:46:15 by Richard Reply

  • @Richard (Comment 22) : And I will be one of those fans :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Rob thought not to give me tickets so i just took it, I’ll spite you and be at the game and make him jealous :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 😆 😆 😆 😆

    Jokes aside it seems it will be a massive crowd tomorrow as i could only get tickets on the East stand and right at the top.

  • Comment 23, posted at 27.10.17 17:58:01 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Goooooooooooo Sharkssssssssssssss

  • Comment 24, posted at 27.10.17 17:58:54 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 23) : Enjoy the game brother! I hope the atmosphere is electric and the boys like men possessed! Will be great for SA rugby to have a pumping final! Shaaaaaaaaarks!!! I am super jealous man!

  • Comment 25, posted at 27.10.17 18:05:59 by Richard Reply

  • @sharks_lover (Comment 23) : Any idea what (if any) pre-game entertainment is on offer?

  • Comment 26, posted at 27.10.17 18:21:24 by Karl Reply

  • @Richard (Comment 25) : Thanks boet, yeah I hope it is electric through out the match,
    It will be big for the Sharks if they do win as there will be so much more belief going into next year. And enjoy the match no matter where you are watching.

  • Comment 27, posted at 27.10.17 18:23:47 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Karl (Comment 26) : Hi Karl, Not sure mate, I know I will be meeting others from Pretoria that are also driving down at the Sharks supporters club by the stadium, hopefully there is some entertainment.

  • Comment 28, posted at 27.10.17 18:24:46 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 27) : Flying up to JHB tomorrow from Cape Town, so will be with friends and family in front of the TV, a few cold ones. Take care, travel safely to the stadium! @sharks_lover (Comment 28) : @sharks_lover (Comment 27) : Teichmann promised lots of entertainment at the stadium, but hopefully the after party is a thing of legend.

  • Comment 29, posted at 27.10.17 19:08:08 by Richard Reply

  • @Richard (Comment 29) : Thanks bro, much appreciated, have a safe flight and enjoy. I will be driving down in my new double cab which i got today :mrgreen: The Merc is going in for repairs due to the hail storm we had here 2 weeks ago, the Merc looks like a golf ball 😆 😆 😆

  • Comment 30, posted at 27.10.17 19:12:58 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 30) : Congratulations on the new cabbie bro! Enjoy the maiden voyage, and eish sorry to hear about the Benz! Moenie drink en bestuur na die game!

  • Comment 31, posted at 27.10.17 19:15:23 by Richard Reply

  • @Richard (Comment 31) : lol Thanks, gelukig is my vrou saam, ek kan maar drink sy bestuur 😆 😆 😆 well that is at the match, drinking going down is a hell no!! as fopr the damage to the benz yeah tennis ball hail stones. was very bad.
    Cannot put pics here or i would have posted a pic,

  • Comment 32, posted at 27.10.17 19:22:21 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Its Match Day…..bring it on.

  • Comment 33, posted at 28.10.17 09:28:56 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Some thoughts from Province coach John Dobson….
    “Its great the the Sharks are driving around Durban to get people to fill the stadium, we are going to empty it”
    “All the pressure is on the Sharks, we have no pressur on us, not from the union, the team etc….”

  • Comment 34, posted at 28.10.17 09:40:03 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Pissing down at 10.30 going to be a wet field

  • Comment 35, posted at 28.10.17 10:30:34 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The hound
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 34) : What a lovely man.

  • Comment 36, posted at 28.10.17 12:47:45 by Nostraseth Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 34) : Difference is, our stadium going folks don’t leave in droves like the fickle WeePee ‘supporters’ do …….

    P.S – what a doos he is for saying that anyway, I hope the Sharks really pull a bad one over them now, to hell with wishing both teams a good game.

  • Comment 37, posted at 28.10.17 13:58:03 by Mephisto_Shark Reply

  • Sitting in the stands, field is looking really good!

  • Comment 38, posted at 28.10.17 13:59:49 by Karl Reply

  • We are 100% behind you, our SHARKS TEAM ….. Come on, boys …! YOU CAN DO IT ….!!

  • Comment 39, posted at 28.10.17 14:58:19 by swan Reply

  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 34) : Funny, I always thought bankruptcy did put pressure on you…

  • Comment 40, posted at 28.10.17 15:16:47 by Pablo Dinero Reply

    Pablo Dinero

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.