Sharks to captilize on Currie Cup triumph
CURRIE CUP REACTION: The Sharks’ Currie Cup win could only be a good omen for their 2019 Super Rugby campaign believes head coach Robert du Preez.
The Sharks, who headed to Newlands with a massive underdog tag, recorded a 17-12 win over the Western Province for their first Currie Cup title in five years.
Coach Robert Du Preez, who also coach the Super Rugby side, believes the winning momentum is a positive connotation for their 2019 Super Rugby campaign.
“The Currie Cup win – and the fact that the [Sharks] U19s won – is massive for the union,” Du Preez told reporters at the Newlands Stadium following the final.
“Think we just have to keep on building on this.
“I believe we have the squad to be a force to be reckoned with in next year’s Super Rugby,” he added.
Currie Cup Champions 2018 🏆 pic.twitter.com/UJl8W8n8ko
— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) October 27, 2018
It was a nervy start for the visitors, as unforced errors, an offside penalty allowed utility back Sarel Marais hand the Western Province a 6-0 lead at the break.
The second half started with the Sharks in dominant form. The forward pack produced a remarkable performance with strong carries that saw hooker Armand van der Merwe and flank Tyler Paul power over the line for the two tries.
Flyhalf Robert du Preez, who was one of the stars for WP when they won in Durban last year, added seven points – two conversions and a penalty – to the overall tally.
“We had a nervous start in the first half, but we regained our composure in the second half and played really good rugby,” he said.
“We knew had to hang onto the ball, retain possession and put the phases together. Think we were making big yards with our carries and kept on playing the territorial game,”
Despite the Sharks’ inability to combat WP’s robust scrums, the Durbanites did enough to disrupt the hosts’ line-outs – a strategy Du Preez is adamant he didn’t plan.
“Lineouts are always, in tight games like this very vital. And if you don’t get your quality ball from lineouts, then you’re always going to struggle,”
“I wouldn’t say that we really went out there to target them at lineout time. But we knew that if we play a pressure game against them, it’ll take its toll,”
— South African Rugby (@Springboks) October 27, 2018
Following last year’s Currie Cup final defeat at the hands of WP and the 21-33 defeat earlier this season at Kings Park, the victory is certainly sweet revenge for the Sharks.
“It’s always nice to come into someone’s backyard and win. Province are a great team, they’ve played some fantastic rugby.
“So, credit to them and the way that they played.
“Finals are finals, and on the day, if you take your opportunities, you walk away with the trophy,”
By Leezil Hendricks