The Currie Cup season has reached its climax with the table topping Sharks taking on Western Province in the Currie Cup Final on Saturday 28 October 2017. Below we briefly preview the Final.
The Sharks finished top of the table in the 2017 Currie Cup season winning 10 out of 12 games. Last week they beat the Blue Bulls in the semi-final 37-27 to secure their spot in the Final. The Sharks have played an abrasive style of rugby this season with solid set pieces, powerful scrumming and consistent lineouts backed up by tight defence and a solid kicking game.
The Sharks last won the Currie Cup in 2013 with a victory over Western Province at Newlands and have won the Currie Cup a total of 7 times.
Western Province has had a mixed season with 7 wins out of 12. The low point was losing to the Pumas 22-12 before showing their potential and booking a home semi-final with a 31-20 win over the Sharks at Kings Park in the final round. In the semi-final last week they put on a solid performance to beat a threatening Lions side 19-5.
Western Province is the most successful province in Currie Cup history, winning the tournament an impressive 33 times. In the past 7 years Province has competed in 5 Currie Cup Finals being crowned champions twice. Their last victory was in 2014 with a tight win over the Lions at Newlands.
Players to watch
For the Sharks, the loose trio of the Du Preez brothers and veteran, Keegan Daniel, have been in fantastic form and will be key heading into this week’s final. The Sharks backline has exciting players throughout with talented players such as Curwin Bosch and Lukhanyo Am while speedsters Van Wyk will pose an attacking threat out wide.
For Western Province, the return of Springboks such as Leyds has added some attacking flair in the backline and Wilco Louw has brought solid, powerful scrumming. Captain Chris van Zyl and lock partner Schickerling have been incredible in the physical battle as well as during the lineouts.
In 2012, Province stuttered through to the playoffs before coming to Durban for a final where they were regarded as rank underdogs. Yet, against the odds, the life was sucked out of the Sharks when Juan de Jongh scored a cracking set-play try to send Province on the way to a 25-18 win.
A clash of styles is on the cards for the Currie Cup Final on Saturday. Western Province are ranked second in terms of tries scored, while the Sharks have been the strongest defensive side in the tournament, conceding 90 fewer points than the next best side.
Over the season and in particular during the past two weeks, Curwin Bosch has shown superb game management with his tactical kicking. The Sharks are the top side in the tournament with kicks from hand and kick metres. They will be looking to play from good field positions.
Province will take a lot of confidence into the game having beaten the Sharks 31-20 at the same venue just two weeks ago. They will follow a similar blue print with a solid forward performance to allow their lethal backline to break up the Sharks defences.
Finals are typically won by the team taking the pragmatic approach and we feel the Sharks, with their strong defence, sound kicking game and home advantage, will win by 6 points.
Please note betting odds quoted are correct at time of publication and are subject to change. View the latest currie cup betting odds
Sharks – 15 Garth April, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (c), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Subs: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Tristan Blewett, 23 Rhyno Smith.
Western Province – 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (c), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Subs: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Kobus van Dyk, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Werner Kok, 23 Dan Kriel.
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