Monday, October 18, 2010
The Sharks beat the Bulls at a bee-infested and soggy Kingspark in the first Currie Cup semi final, while in the second we saw Western Province run away with a convincing win over the Freestate Cheetahs in Cape Town.
Newlands was packed to the rafters for what was expected to be a tight encounter. It was up until 20 minutes in when Province scored their first, and later piled on the points. A late consolation try was a gift for the visitors, as the home side looked very impressive and finished well.
Bryan Habana, who took so much stick recently for his lack of form in the Tri Nations, showed what a bit of conditioning and time off can do for a player as he looked back to his best with some hard work on defense, a neatly taken try, and a great run to set up Gio Aplon for a try of his own. Francois Louw also scored, and Willem de Waal did the rest with the boot, kicking seven out of eight at goal.
"It's been a while since we've been in a final, so it's a great achievement by the boys," Burger said, referring to the fact that its been nine years since they made a final.
"We've lost a couple of semis to the Cheetahs in the past as they are a quality outfit. We've been building some momentum since beating the Sharks last week and hopefully we can carry that over to the final," he said.
Speaking about Habanas form, Burger was full of praise for his Springbok and provincial collegue. "Its different when youre someones team-mate to sitting at home, drinking brandy and booing. Bryans record of 38 tries in 66 Tests, as well as all the tries that he has scored at Super14 level, speaks for itself.
"Im sure it wasnt easy for Bryan to be treated in that manner. People will realise in time how good he is. We never doubted his ability," added Burger, a sentiment that Western Province coach Allister Coetzee echoed.
"Its good to see Bryan finish like that again. The saying that form is temporary and class is permanent applies here. Bryan could settle down again and speak to people close to him about other things," said Coetzee about the time off.
"Its important to be able to switch off and to be able to handle criticism. It will be to your disadvantage if you take everything personally."
The Sharks will host Western Province in the final in Durban in two weeks time.