Sport / Rugby

Heinz Schenk
4 minute read
24 Oct 2018
4:35 pm

How Province-Sharks finals have gone down since 2000

Heinz Schenk

It's actually a fixture generally dominated by one of this weekend's Currie Cup showpiece's teams.

Ali Vermaak and Bongi Mbonambi of Western Province indulge in a favourite Currie Cup tradition. Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images.

Western Province and the Sharks will be contesting their seventh Currie Cup final against each other since 2000.

Indeed, the two traditional powerhouses have been as consistent as ever in proving their credentials and going all the way.

But when it comes to this rivalry, there’s really only one big winner the majority of the time…

2000: Sharks 15 – WP 25

Breyton Paulse. Photo: Gallo Images.

Following a traumatic Super Rugby campaign, where they finished stone last, Rudolf Straeuli did well to restore confidence and secure a home final.

But he did so with a very pragmatic, risk-free game-plan.

They dominated territory and possession but quickly ran out of ideas against a stern Province defence.

Gert Smal had given his charges far more of an attacking licence and Bok wingers Pieter Rossouw and Breyton Paulse took full advantage, between them scoring all three of WP’s tries.

2001: WP 29 – Sharks 24

2001 Bankfin Currie Cup, Final, 27 October 2001, Western Province (29) v Sharks (24), Fedsure Park,Newlands, Cape Town,
Braam van Straaten holds the Currie cup,
Photo Credit:© Tertius Pickard/Gallo Images

A year later, Straeuli’s troops seemed to have learnt their lessons as their power (and more varied) play ensured them a 17-9 lead at half-time.

The match was then turned on its head as Province flyhalf Chris Rossouw launched a cheeky chip forward, showed great determination in chasing it and then brilliantly grabbed a kind bounce.

That moment of magic rallied WP, who gave their reliable utility back Braam van Straaten a perfect send-off.

He contributed 24 points.

2010: Sharks 30 – WP 10

Patrick Lambie looks for a gap during the Absa Currie Cup Final match between the Sharks and Vodacom Western Province at Absa Stadium on October 30, 2010 in Durban, South Africa
Photo by Steve Haag / Gallo Images

A new star was born in this game in the form of a 20-year-old Pat Lambie.

In only his first full senior campaign, the flyhalf dictated play brilliantly and scored two tries – one a cracking effort where he slipped past three tackles – to end with a personal contribution of 25 points.

While the youngster was outstanding, the counter-attacking of wingers Odwa Ndungane and Lwazi Mvovo and scrumhalf Charl McLeod proved vital too.

2012: Sharks 18 – WP 25

Western Province centre Juan de Jongh during the Absa Currie Cup final match between The Sharks and DHL Western Province from Mr Price KINGS PARK on October 27, 2012 in Durban, South Africa
Photo by Carl Fourie / Gallo Images

The hosts were overwhelming favourites, not only because they had a fine campaign but also were the best domestic side overall having reached the Super Rugby final too.

Yet Allister Coetzee’s so-called no-hopers were outstanding on the day, defending stoutly and forcing a stale Sharks backline to make mistakes.

Demetri Catrakilis was a hero for WP at pivot with 17 points, including two superb drop kicks.

However, his contribution wasn’t necessarily a turning point.

Instead, centre Juan de Jongh stole the show with a magnificent try, evading four tackles from a slick set-piece move.

2013: WP 19 – Sharks 33

Charl McLeod of The Sharks on his way to score a try during the Absa Currie Cup final match between DHL Western Province and The Sharks at DHL Newlands on October 26, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

The shoe was on the other foot this time round.

Province had gone into their home final as strong favourites, but were outdone by a Sharks team that executed their tactics to perfection.

McLeod was even more influential than in 2010, setting the tone with an early interception before finishing with a brace of tries later on.

Lambie wasn’t always on target – in fact he missed four kicks – but Province were put under such immense pressure that he still managed to score 23 points.

The game also saw a new star in Pieter-Steph du Toit emerge.

2017: Sharks 21 – WP 33

Huw Jones of Western Province. (Photo by Carl Fourie/ Gallo Images)

Another final, another game of two halves.

The Sharks had scored all their points by the 31st minute and then promptly fell apart after the break, missing set-pieces and fluffing numerous tackles.

A grateful Province took full advantage in scoring 18 unanswered points but they also deserved credit for their aggressive yet varied approach.

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