Newlands has been kind to the Sharks the last two times they have played there, including a 12-9 win in the Currie Cup final on October 27, 2018, and coach Sean Everitt says his team is quite comfortable travelling to Cape Town for their semi-final against Western Province on Saturday.
The Sharks have won their last two matches at Newlands, also beating them 12-9 in Super Rugby in 2019, and they have been triumphant in three of their last five outings at The Grand Old Lady of South African rugby. Those wins have all been narrow, however, all by less than six points, while their two defeats were heavy – by 11 and 22 points in 2018.
“We’re very happy to go to Cape Town, it’s a lot easier than going to the Highveld, especially playing in the afternoon at this time of year,” Everitt said during the week.
“It’s been really hot here in Durban, so we’re looking forward to better conditions and we do play well in those sort of conditions. The travel there certainly won’t deter us much.
“We did speak about the emotion involved from Western Province’s side that it might be their last game there. There’s a lot of tradition surrounding that stadium, including for the Sharks and we would really like to be the last team to win at Newlands. But we’re up against a desperate, emotional team with a good set-piece so it should make for a good game.”
Everitt also said that because of where the two teams are situated on the log – Western Province finished second and the Sharks were third – the home team will be favourites and that will bring added pressure.
“They finished second on the log, so we’re probably underdogs. So the pressure is on them playing at home, plus with all the emotion of Newlands,” said Everitt.
“I’m not sure why the away team has won the last few playoffs between us, but it probably comes down to the pressure of playing at home. Because of that pressure, it’s all going to come down to error-rate and discipline.”
Sharks’ last 5 results at Newlands
June 15, 2019: Won 12-9 (SR)
October 27, 2018: Won 17-12 (CC final)
September 29, 2018: Lost 28-50 (CC)
July 7, 2018: Lost 16-27 (SR)
August 26, 2017: Won 21-20 (CC)
Sharks’ last 6 playoffs v WP/Stormers
October 27, 2018: Cape Town – Won 17-12 (Currie Cup final)
October 28, 2017: Durban – Lost 21-33 (Currie Cup final)
October 26, 2013: Cape Town – Won 33-19 (Currie Cup final)
October 27, 2012: Durban – Lost 18-25 (Currie Cup final)
July 28, 2012: Cape Town – Won 26-19 (SuperRugby semi-final)
October 30, 2010: Durban – Won 30-10 (Currie Cup final)