Currie Cup

Home advantage vital - Daniel

2012-10-23 19:02
Keegan Daniel (Gallo Images)

Durban - Sharks captain Keegan Daniel insists it is important not to dwell too much on the past and focus instead on the Currie Cup final against Western Province on Saturday.

The Durban franchise hosts WP at Kings Park in what is their third consecutive final having played in last year’s showpiece against the Golden Lions and the Super Rugby decider against New Zealand side the Chiefs in August.

Both matches ended in heartbreak for John Plumtree’s side, but Daniel is confident this one could be different.

"We’ve got to win a final and we’re determined to do it and hopefully it will happen this time," Daniel said on Tuesday.

The Springbok loose forward felt playing at home would give them an advantage over their Cape Town rivals.

"The last two years we weren’t as consistent and you know that it’s tough to win a final away from home," he said.

"You do have a slight edge when you do host a final.

"We travelled to the Lions last year and were under par and we’ve learnt lessons from that game.

"This year’s Super Rugby we gave ourselves a chance, but at the end of the day the travel was just too much."

The Sharks, who ended top of the log after the regular season, have an impeccable recent home record, losing just once in three Currie Cup seasons.

Their last loss came against Province in a league game last year when they were beaten 20-15.

"I think in any competition you have to win your home games to be in contention, anyone will tell you that and that’s probably the biggest influence there is," Daniel said.

"I think the boys have done pretty well to get here, but we still need one big performance on Saturday.

"Finals rugby you can win by one point or win by 40, it really doesn’t matter, we just want to win."

The Cape side reached the final with a 21-16 win over the Lions after ending third on the log.

The Sharks progress has been made all the more impressive considering they are one of the most heavily affected unions when it comes to Springbok call-ups.

Close to 10 players are regulars in the national squad and Daniel praised those who have stepped up in their absence.

"I think there were a couple of young guys in the first or second season that have really grown," he said.

"I think from where they were two years ago to now, they’ve not only matured as rugby players but individuals as well.

"It’s shown in the way they’ve reacted in pressure situations and in big games."



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