Western Province will win the Currie Cup – and do it comfortably.
Province, unbeaten in the league stages, will beat the Sharks by 10-15 points in Saturday’s final at Newlands.
The packs will measure up fairly evenly and there won’t be a decided advantage in the collisions.
Province possess the greater individuals among the backs and they also have a far superior and more disciplined defensive structure.
Playing at Newlands gives Western Province a 10-point advantage and they also have a reserves line-up that will provide greater impact.
The game will play out very much like the 33-16 semi-final win against the Lions of a week ago.
Jean de Villiers will be the most influential player of the match and the Sharks don’t have the outside backs to threaten the hosts.
The match – and outcome – will have no bearing on the make-up of the Springbok touring squad, to be announced on Monday afternoon.
Province were particularly good in applying the slow poison to the Lions. They will be as effective on Saturday against the Sharks. It won’t be a vintage performance and it won’t be a spectacular win.
Expect Province to grind down the Sharks challenge, and to do it comprehensively.
Western Province – 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Deon Fourie (c), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.?
Subs: 16 Frans Malherbe, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Michael Rhodes, 19 Schalk Burger, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Juan de Jongh.
Sharks – 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Stephan Lewies, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Heimar Williams.