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Currie Cup Final 2012

Like last week’s Bledisloe Cup match between the All Blacks and the Wallabies, there can only be one winner, and again, the odds are on the side in black.

Add to this their home ground advantage, their record at Kings Park, plus the experience of  playing in finals, and the Sharks appear to be unconquerable. 

On paper, that is.

This is possibly the biggest challenge for the Western Province coaching staff – convincing their young lions that the hill they have to climb is not insurmountable. The final try last weekend, eight seconds from the final whistle, no doubt played a far bigger role than just getting them through to the final and would have a huge motivator this past week.

Plumtree is playing his usual cat and mouse game in announcing his final squad. No doubt, he employs this strategy to look at what the opposition does, but it seems to work for him. Whether he follows the same plan of using his Springboks as impact players, or as upfront battering rams, remains to be seen.

Key players for the Sharks will be Keegan Daniel, JP Pietersen and Pat Lambie. My man of the match last week, Louis Ludik, will, no doubt, be as influential as he was then. The pack of the Sharks, as a whole, will want to dominate, and with strong ball carriers like Deysel and Alberts, the famed defence of Western Province will be tested to the full.

Dawid is ook geen kans gegun teen Goliat nie, en kyk wat het gebeur.

Die WP het verras met Damian de Allende op binnesenter. Wie weet, dalk kan hy, soos Slang Kritzinger in die sewentigjare vir Maties teen Tukkies, die onbekende faktor wees wat die verskil gaan maak.

Hoewel albei spanne ontken dat hulle spesifieke spelers teiken, is daar geen twyfel dat sleutelspelers soos Lambie van die Haaie, en die WP se skakelpaar, spesiale aandag gaan kry nie. Sny die toevoerpyp af, en die spelers aan hul buitekant kry nie die bal nie.

Die WP het vanjaar baie meer aanskoulike rugby gespeel as in die verlede, maar dodelike verdediging is hul enigste opsie as hulle wil wen.

Die Sharks, daarenteen, speel All Black rugby, en gaan nie hiervan afwyk nie. Te veel spanne het al tweede gekom deur met ‘n vreemde wedstrydplan in die finaal te probeer speel, en dan in die hek te duik.

Die manne in die Noorde mag dalk van my verskil, maar die kern van die toekoms van Springbok rugby is Saterdag in Durban. Dis baie verblydend dat so baie onder-21 spelers in die finaal speel. Iemand soos Eben Etzebeth word al amper gereken as ‘n veteraan, danksy sy meteoriese opgang hierdie jaar. Lambie, insgelyks, bied die oplossing op losskakel om vir ons dinamiese Springbok agterspelers die ruimte te skep om hul talent tuit te stal.

Die eindstryd Saterdag is al weer een van daardie wedstryde waar my hart en my kop in konflik is, dus gaan ek liewer nie ‘n voorspelling waag nie. My Disa hempie, wat ek laas tydens die eindstryd tussen die twee spanne in Durban in 2010 gedra het, sal nie Saterdag in my kas wees nie, eerder aan my bas. Ek is nie bygelowig nie.

Nogtans, hoop ek maar net die geskiedenis herhaal homself nie weer nie.

History of the Currie Cup

Paul Dobson wrote quite a delightful article on the man after whom the Currie Cup is named. I did not know that the first one in the country was actually the cricket Currie Cup, some 5 years before the first rugby version was given to Griquas in an apparent politically influenced decision. Even then?

Click here to download the article

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