Monday, November 01, 2010
The Natal Sharks won their second Currie Cup title in three years after outplaying the much favoured Western Province in front of a packed house at Kingspark in Durban on Saturday. The 30-10 victory came as much from commitment as it did from a solid team display all round.
Massive defence was a symbol of the Sharks play as they smashed whatever Province threw at them, blowing them away in the first half and forcing them into uncharacteristic errors later in the game. "As brutal, as intense as any top tier Test match I have refereed. The defensive hits going in were huge the commitment was incredible," said referee Craig Joubert.
Young flyhalf Patrick Lambie showed how hes grown as a player as he again proved to be a match winner with his two tries and 25 point tally. The twenty year old was named Man of the Match, and later picked in the Springbok touring squad.
"Patrick has huge character. He took a few shifts mentally and I believe he has matured as a player. He is definitely a man for the future," said coach John Plumtree.
Andries Strauss in the midfield was another huge factor for the Sharks as the unsung hero smashed anything in sight. He was playing his last game for the province, and you could see it in the way he played which clearly rubbed off on the men around him.
"Before kick-off, when the players were in a circle he challenged the team by asking them what kind of performance they would produce if it was their last game for the Sharks (and to join him in that level of commitment)," Plumtree added.
Province werent without chances though, as they opted for the line rather than kick the points on offer in the second half. Those missed opportunities meant they were chasing the game, which lead to further pressure and errors. Captain Schalk Burger tried in vain, but couldnt do enough to get his side back into it against a motivated home team.
"When some ex-Bok coaches and some CEOs of banks back WP to win, it gives you that extra motivation to add to the strong internal motivation which starts from when you are kids and you play Currie Cup finals in your backyard," said captain Stefan Terblanche.
The youngsters from the Sharks stood up to be counted as Lambie, Keegan Daniel, Lwazi Mvovo, and Willem Alberts were all rewarded with a place on the Springbok end of year tour. Burger, Ricky Januarie, and Juan de Jongh have all been ruled out with injury.