Currie Cup Finals: 1939-2017
DOWN MEMORY LANE: Every final of the Currie Cup was special. Every one had stories that could be told about it. Every one had men who became heroes.
The venue for finals was originally decided by the age of the union, then by where the previous final had been played and now by position on the Currie Cup log.
The 1947 Final was at Newlands because Western Province was an older union than Transvaal. The 1950 Final was in Johannesburg because the previous one had been at Newlands. This year’s Final will be at Newlands because Western Province ended higher on the Currie Cup log than the Sharks did.
The first Currie Cup Final was played in 1939, at Newlands when Transvaal beat Western Province. The captains of both teams and the referee were 1937 and 1938 Springboks. The captain of Western Province was Freddie Turner, the captain of Transvaal Fanie Louw. The referee was the great Boy Louw, possibly the most ardent Western Province man of all time. Boy and Fanie were brothers. Transvaal won.
The second final includes the most memorable faux pas in the history of Currie Cup finals. Western Province were leading 9-8 and time was up when Hansie Brewis, the Northern Transvaal flyhalf, kicked the ball downfield, probably in desperation. Con de Kock, the Western Province, fullback had the happy job of taking the ball into touch to win the match. He flykicked at the rolling ball. It came off the side of his boot and Northern Transvaal wing Johnny Lourens snatched the ball up and scored the try that won the Currie Cup for Northern Transvaal. Con de Kock, an athletic Matie, a great hero, disappeared from provincial rugby after that.
Boland played in the 1952 final. In the semifinal they beat Western Province 5-0 in Wellington when Chris Koch sprinted straight to the posts from the corner of the 25 to score a try. The three Koch – Chris, brother Willem and cousin Bubbles – were too strong for the Province pack minus Jan Pickard. Transvaal won the final with a drop by Natie Rens just before the final whistle.
From 1969 onwards the system of finals, with varying ways to get there, began, and in that 1969 final Frik Du Preez’s feat of scoring was celebrated by his comrade-in-arms Mof Myburgh with the famous words – “Ou Frik – hy’t gedrop, geplace and gescore.”
1970 brought the biggest surprise in a Currie Cup final when the Griquas players gathered in Kimberley after work on Friday and on Saturday morning and beat the mighty Northern Transvaal when Peet Smith kicked a penalty into the wind from his own half to win the match. Griquas went onto the field with a threefold game plan, according to their coach Ian Kirkpatrick – to ride on the ageing Piet Uys, whenever they saw the ageing Mof Myburgh getting up they were to push him down again and whenever Mannetjies Roux got the ball all 14 others were to get to him because he would do something with it, though not anything they – or he – could anticipate.
In 1972 Eastern Transvaal played in the final after two play-off matches to get there. But in Springs that day Gerald Bosch’s boot was too much.
One could go on and on. Every final is special.
Remember Naas Botha in the wind, rain and hail in 1987 when he kicked four drop goals (left, right, right, right) and four penalty goals? And the next year his penalty in the dying minutes won the match for the men in blue. Naas was probably the great personality of Currie Cup finals.
Remember Pieter Nel running out onto Loftus Versfeld in 1990, swerving to avoid a photographer and slipping in a pile of dung left by the mascot bull and damaged his ankle to that he could not play. Remember Tony Watson’s try that day in winning the Cup for Natal for the first time.
Remember Natal winning in Johannesburg and Transvaal winning in Durban, Natal winning at Newlands and Western Province winning in Durban?
Remember the massive score of 1994?
Remember Patrick Lambie in 2012?
Remember, remember, remember…….
Results of all the Currie Cup Finals
1939: Transvaal vs Western Province, 17-6 at Newlands
1946: Northern Transvaal vs Western Province, 11-9 in Pretoria
1947: Western Province vs Transvaal, 16-12 at Newlands
1950: Transvaal vs Western Province, 22-11 in Johannesburg
1952: Transvaal vs Boland, 11-9 in Wellington
1954: Western Province vs Northern Transvaal, 11-8 at Newlands
1956: Northern Transvaal vs Natal, 9-8 in Durban
1968: Northern Transvaal vs Transvaal, 16-3 in Pretoria
1969: Northern Transvaal vs Western Province, 28-3 in Pretoria
1970: Griqualand West vs Northern Transvaal, 11-9 in Kimberley
1971: Northern Transvaal vs Transvaal, 14-14 in Johannesburg
1972: Transvaal vs Eastern Transvaal, 25-19 in Springs
1973: Northern Transvaal vs Orange Free State, 30-22 in Pretoria
1974: Northern Transvaal vs Transvaal, 17-15 in Pretoria
1975: Northern Transvaal vs Orange Free State, 12-6 in Bloemfontein
1976: Orange Free State vs Western Province, 33-16 in Bloemfontein
1977: Northern Transvaal vs Orange Free State, 27-12 in Pretoria
1978: Northern Transvaal vs Orange Free State, 13-9 in Bloemfontein
1979: Northern Transvaal vs Western Province, 15-15 at Newlands
1980: Northern Transvaal vs Western Province, 39-9 in Pretoria
1981: Northern Transvaal vs Orange Free State, 23-6 in Pretoria
1982: Western Province vs Northern Transvaal, 24-9 at Newlands
1983: Western Province vs Northern Transvaal, 9-3 in Pretoria
1984: Western Province vs Natal, 19-9 at Newlands
1985: Western Province vs Northern Transvaal, 22-15 at Newlands
1986: Western Province vs Transvaal, 22-9 at Newlands
1987: Northern Transvaal vs Transvaal, 24-18 in Johannesburg
1988: Northern Transvaal vs Western Province, 19-18 in Pretoria
1989: Western Province vs Northern Transvaal, 16-16 at Newlands
1990: Natal vs Northern Transvaal, 18-12 in Pretoria
1991: Northern Transvaal vs Transvaal, 27-15 in Pretoria
1992: Natal vs Transvaal, 14-13 in Johannesburg
1993: Transvaal vs Natal, 21-15 in Durban
1994: Transvaal vs Orange Free State, 56-33 in Bloemfontein
1995: Natal vs Western Province, 25-17 in Durban
1996: Natal vs Transvaal, 33-15 in Johannesburg
1997: Western Province vs Free State, 14-12 at Newlands
1998: Blue Bulls vs Western Province, 24-20 in Pretoria
1999: Lions vs Natal, 32-9 in Durban
2000: Western Province vs Natal, 25-15 in Durban
2001: Western Province vs Natal, 29-24 at Newlands
2002: Blue Bulls vs Lions, 31-7 in Johannesburg
2003: Blue Bulls vs Natal, 40-19 in Pretoria
2004: Blue Bulls vs Free State Cheetahs, 42-33 in Pretoria
2005: Free State Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls, 29-25 in Pretoria
2006: Free State Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls, 28-28 in Bloemfontein
2007: Free State Cheetahs vs Lions, 20-18 in Bloemfontein
2008: Sharks vs Blue Bulls, 14-9 in Durban
2009: Blue Bulls vs Free State Cheetahs, 36-24 in Pretoria
2010: Sharks vs Western Province, 30-10 in Durban
2011: Golden Lions vs Sharks, 42-16 in Johannesburg
2012: Western Province vs Sharks, 25-18 in Durban
2013: Sharks vs Western Province, 33-19 at Newlands
2014: Western Province vs Golden Lions, 19-16 at Newlands
2015: Golden Lions vs Western Province, 32-24 in Johannesburg
2016: Free State Cheetahs vs Blue Bull, 36-16 in Bloemfontein
2017: Western Province vs Sharks, 33-21 in Durban
2018: Western Province vbs Sharks at Newlandsx
* There have been so many changes of names of venues we have given the name of the city where the match was played – except for unique Newlands.
** Names of teams have changed. We give them then and now.
Transvaal – Lions – Golden Lions
Northern Transvaal – Blue Bulls
Natal – Sharks
Eastern Transvaal – Valke
Orange Free State – Free State Cheetahs
Number of Finals: 57
Number of Times in a Final
Northern Transvaal/Blue Bulls: 32
Western Province: 28
Transvaal/Golden Lions: 21
Free State: 13
Eastern Transvaal/Valke: 1
Griqualand West: 1
Number of Victories
Blue Bulls: 22 (including four draws)
Western Province: 15 (including two draws)
Lions: 9 (including a draw)
Free State: 5 (including a draw)
Griqualand West: 1
Highest Score: 56 – Transvaal 1994
Lowest Score 3 – Transvaal 1968, Western Province 1969, Northern Transvaal 1983
Lowest winning score: 9 – Northern Transvaal 1956, Western Province 1983
Highest match score: 89 – 1994
Lowest match score: 12 – 1983
Biggest margin of victory: 30 (1980)
Smallest margin of victory: 1 (1956, 1988, 1992)
Most team tries: 7 – Golden Lions in 1994
Most appearances in finals: 11 – Burger Geldenhuys (1977-89), Naas Botha (1977 – 1991)
Most points in finals: 138 – Naas Botha
Highest individual score: 26 – Derick Hougaard, 2002
Most tries by a player: 4 – Ettienne Botha – 2003, 2004
Most penalty goals by a player: 6 – Thierry Lacroix in 1995, Pat Lambie 2012
Most conversions by a player: 6 – Gavin Johnson in 1994
Most dropped goals by a player: 4 – Naas Botha in 1987
Most finals refereed: 7 – André Watson
By Paul Dobson