GARETH DUNCAN reviews the previous Currie Cup finals between the Sharks and WP.
WP 19 Natal 9, NEWLANDS, CAPE TOWN
Natal had a 9-3 advantage at half-time, but a strong second-half performance saw Province surge to their third consecutive Currie Cup title. Tries from flank Rob Louw, lock Schalk Burger and fullback Calla Scholtz clinched the victory.
Province went on to win the 1985 and 1986 tournaments too, making it five crowns in a row.
WP - 15 Calla Scholtz, 14 Bertie de Wet, 13 Goggie van Heerden, 12 Carel du Plessis, 11 Neil Burger, 10 Michael du Plessis, 9 Divan Serfontein (c), 8 Nick Mallett, 7 Kulu Ferreira, 6 Rob Louw, 5 Schalk Burger, 4 Hennie Bekker, 3 Attie Strauss, 2 Shaun Povey, 1 Bill Nieuwoudt.
Natal - 15 Hugh Reece Edwards, 14 Des McLean, 13 Greg Hamilton, 12 Ronnie Haarhof, 11 Cobus Aucamp, 10 Gawie Visagie, 9 Craig Jamieson, 8 Wynand Claassen (c), 7 Derek le Marque, 6 Peter Edmunds, 5 Andre Botha, 4 Chris Faure, 3 Murray Dawson, 2 Rob Hankinson, 1 Peter Downes.
NATAL 25 WP 17, KINGS PARK, DURBAN
At a wet Kings Park, it proved to be the battle of the flyhalves. And in this contest, pivot Thierry Lacroix outbooted opposite number Joel Stransky.
The Frenchman converted wing Cabous van der Westhuizen’s try and landed six penalties. Stransky only slotted four penalties in reply. WP skipper Tiaan Strauss crossed the chalk, but it only proved to be a consolation try.
Natal – 15 André Joubert, 14 Cabous van der Westhuizen, 13 Jeremy Thomson, 12 Henry Honiball, 11 James Small, 10 Thierry Lacroix, 9 Kevin Putt, 8 Gary Teichmann (c), 7 Wickus van Heerden, 6 Wayne Fyvie, 5 Olivier Roumat, 4 Mark Andrews, 3 Adrian Garvey, 2 John Allen, 1 Robbie Kempson.
WP – 15 Pieter Rossouw, 14 Chester Williams, 13 Christian Stewart, 12 Tinus Linee, 11 Justin Swart, 10 Joel Stransky, 9 Michael Kirsten, 8 Tiaan Strauss (c), 7 Fritz van Heerden, 6 Laurent Cabannes, 5 FC Smit, 4 Louis Blom, 3 Tommie Laubscher, 2 Mornay Visser 1 Toks van der Linde.
SHARKS 15 WP 25, KINGS PARK, DURBAN
The Sharks were the most consistent team during the league phase, only losing one match in 10 fixtures. They also eased past the Free State Cheetahs with a 29-15 semi-final win at home. However, they came up against a WP team who built late momentum and thrashed the Golden Lions 43-22 in their play-off clash.
WP displayed good attacking rugby during the title-decider, and wing Breyton Paulse starred with a brace. There was also a try for fellow speedster Pieter Rossouw.
The Sharks, who scored the second most tries of the campaign, could only manage five penalties via fullback Gaffie du Toit.
Sharks – 15 Gaffie du Toit, 14 Stefan Terblanche, 13 Joe Gillingham, 12 Trevor Halstead, 11 Rodger Smith, 10 Butch James, 9 Craig Davidson, 8 Shaun Sowerby, 7 AJ Venter, 6 Warren Brosnihan, 5 Mark Andrews (c), 4 Albert van den Berg, 3 Etienne Fynn, 2 Chris Rossouw, 1 Andre-Henri le Roux.
Subs: 16 John Smit, 17 Brent Moyle, 18 Charl van Rensburg, 19 Brad MacLeod-Henderson, 20 Stephen Brink, 21 Deon Kayser, 22 Hentie Martens.
WP – 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Breyton Paulse, 13 Robbie Fleck, 12 Braam van Straaten, 11 Pieter Rossouw, 10 Chris Rossouw, 9 Dan van Zyl, 8 Adri Badenhorst, 7 Hendrik Gerber, 6 Corné Krige (c), 5 Hottie Louw, 4 Quinton Davids, 3 Robbie Kempson, 2 Charl Marais, 1 Toks van der Linde.
Subs: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Faan Rautenbach, 18 Thys Scholtz, 19 Robbie Brink, 20 Neil de Kock, 21 De Wet Barry, 22 Jeffery Stevens.
WP 29 SHARKS 24, NEWLANDS, CAPE TOWN
WP claimed back-to-back Currie Cup titles with a famous 29-24 comeback win over the Sharks at Newlands.
The visitors led 17-9 at the break thanks to tries from hooker John Smit and fullback Gaffie du Toit. Smit’s try was the highlight of the first half as his interplay with flank AJ Venter exposed Province’s scrambled defence out wide.
However, WP surged ahead thanks to flyhalf Chris Rossouw, whose chip and chase kick-started the comeback, and inside centre Braam van Straaten, who bashed over from close range. Van Straaten added the extras, in addition to his five penalties, to take his individual tally to 24 points. It was his last season for the Cape union before he finished his career at Griquas.
The Sharks grabbed a late try via reserve flank Charl van Rensburg, but WP held on for the win.
This proved to be WP’s last major trophy to date.
WP – 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Breyton Paulse, 13 De Wet Barry, 12 Braam van Straaten, 11 Pieter Rossouw, 10 Chris Rossouw, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Bob Skinstad, 7 Hendrik Gerber, 6 Corné Krige (c), 5 Hottie Louw, 4 Quinton Davids, 3 Cobus Visagie, 2 Charl Marais, 1 Robbie Kempson.
Subs: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Toks van der Linde, 18 Thys Scholtz, 19 Robbie Brink, 20 Bolla Conradie, 21 Werner Greeff, 22 Egon Seconds.
Sharks - 15 Justin Swart, 14 Deon Kayser, 13 Andre Snyman, 12 Trevor Halstead, 11 Stefan Terblanche, 10 Gaffie du Toit, 9 Craig Davidson, 8 Shaun Sowerby, 7 AJ Venter, 6 Warren Britz, 5 Philip Smit, 4 Albert van den Berg, 3 Etienne Fynn, 2 John Smit, 1 Ollie le Roux.
Subs: 16 Lukas van Biljon, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Charl van Rensburg, 19 Warren Brosnihan, 20 David von Hoesslin, 21 Herkie Kruger, 22 Rodger Smith.
SHARKS 30 WP 10, KINGS PARK, DURBAN
Flyhalf Pat Lambie confirmed his status as the rising star of South African rugby with a Man-of-the-Match performance in front of a 52 000-strong crowd at Kings Park.
He scored two tries and added 15 points with the boot (three conversions and three penalties) as he helped the Sharks ease to their sixth domestic title. His standout moment came when he handed off Springbok flank Schalk Burger on his way to his first try.
Province, who were dominated by a physical Sharks defence, only managed 10 points via Burger’s try and flyhalf Willem de Waal’s conversion and penalty.
Sharks – 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Stefan Terblanche (c), 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Eugene van Staden, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Andre Pretorius, 22 Riaan Swanepoel.
WP – 15 Conrad Jantjies, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Anton van Zyl, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 JD Moller.
Subs: 16 Hanyani Shimange, 17 JC Kritzinger, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Paul Bosch.