Pressure mounts on Sharks

2010-10-26 08:58

Gavin Rich - SuperSport

Johannesburg - It is a fact that while home teams tend to win major finals, hosting the deciding game in a competition has not always been to the advantage of the Sharks.

Of the five Currie Cup finals they have hosted, they have only won two of them - a success rate of 40%. Throw in the 2007 Super 14 final, which they lost to the Bulls on the last move of the match, and the scenario is even worse. By contrast, some of their more famous victories in finals, such as the one in Pretoria in their Centenary Year, came away from home.

The Sharks failures in Durban finals could just be coincidence, but they could also be rooted in the extra pressure that accompanies a home final.

For instance, while the call from the Sharks on Monday for everyone in KwaZulu/Natal to wear black and white on Friday was a good marketing move, it could have the effect of increasing the pressure on the team as it makes them so much more aware of the massive weight of public expectation.

A year when the pressure might well have been a contributing factor in their failure to win a final was 1993, the year that Harry Viljoen coached Natal.

That was Natal’s first home final, and it is hard to remember another final anywhere that has been accompanied by more fanfare both in the build-up week and immediately before kick-off. Afterwards the ‘sideshows’ of final week were blamed for the team’s failure.

That was the final where Transvaal came to Durban as underdogs and stole it out from under the Natalians’ noses, as was the case when Western Province, who were understrength because of some key injuries in the tight five, did the same at Absa Stadium in 2000.

If you have never been to a morgue and want to get to experience what it is like, go to Durban after the Sharks have lost a major match.

So with all this in mind, it is understandable that pressure, and managing it, seems to be the major concern coming out of the Sharks camp at the start of the build-up week to Saturday’s big final.

“Final week can get out of hand if you don’t manage it. It’s about keeping the team together and resting and minimising side-shows,” said Sharks coach John Plumtree.

“The guys are very excited. Maybe the nerves will come in later in the week. I think it is settling in that they are playing a Currie Cup final in front of their home fans, and it is almost upon them after a week’s break. The thing is, Western Province will be experiencing the same excitement.

“They are in the same place as we were in 2008. We had not won anything in 12 years, but does that create pressure?”

Sharks captain Stefan Terblanche said that the team were in a good mental place for a final and that the win over the Bulls in the semifinal had enabled them to regain confidence after losing two of their last three games in the league stage of the competition.

“We lost two of our last three games, to the Lions and Province, but then came back strongly to beat the Bulls in the semi-final, and that has to give us the belief that we can beat the best as long as we get our game right,” said Terblanche.

However Terblanche also noted how well WP played against his team in the last league match at Newlands, and clearly there is no chance of the Durbanites underestimating Province in the final.

“I am hoping it will be third time lucky – we lost to Province in 2000 and 2001, and that was after losing heavily to the Lions in Durban in the 1999 final.”


  • Bloubull_zn - 2010-10-26 09:10

    As Oom Koos said in a previous blog, the team with the most pride and desire for the whole 80min will take it. A bonus for the Sharks could well be that John Smit is not there. However I have a sneaky suspision that Habana is going to play a key role.

  • Chris G - 2010-10-26 09:12

    2 weeks ago it was all about how the Bulls would cruise to the final. This week it's all about how WP are going to take it. Once again the Sharks are keeping quiet and will let their play on Saturday do the talking.

  • Paddy - 2010-10-26 09:20

    Don't worry about pressures, don't worry about marketing ploys......Go out there and play as well as you did against the Bulls - that is all you need to do! Go Sharks! I know you can do it!

  • Pearly Whites - 2010-10-26 09:35

    jeeze Gavin, are you a wp supporter? everybody (by this I mean the media) is saying that wp wil win. I beg to differ, the Sharks are focused and ready. Sharks Forever!!!

  • Weakest Link - 2010-10-26 09:35

    Province weakest link are the following players ; Jantjies,January, Louw (penalties) and front row. Best wishes from Nam

  • Nixon - 2010-10-26 09:38

    What about the Cape Media? even thou the Sharks were top of the log and playing at home they would have you believe that Sharks are the underdogs. Their is more pressure on WP with all their superstars then the sharks.

  • Johann - 2010-10-26 09:45

    As a Sharks supporter, I'm not worried. The guys will pull it through!

  • Callie - 2010-10-26 09:59

    Jaaa Boet, what about adding a stat regarding WPs ability to win finals at away venues? What a crappy one-sided article.

  • keith - 2010-10-26 10:00

    I hope Province give the Sharks a nice klap! (Disgruntled Bulls Supporter)

  • Dr Wee Pee - 2010-10-26 10:00

    oh Sharkie jou plankie die Currie Cup gaan weg, die Currie Cup gaan weg, Currie Cup gaan weg, oh Sharkie jou plankie die Currie Cup gaan weg daar anderkant die Tafelberge. WP jou lekka ding.

  • Brett - 2010-10-26 10:08

    The same scenario that is highlighted here, I believe will be the All Blacks undoing in next year's World Cup. Instead of 'home-ground advantage' they'll experience 'home-ground pressure' from an expectant New Zealand public who are dying for them to win. Add to this that they only know how to play off side (something that will have to be carefully monitored by refs in the World Cup) and they insist on playing an expansive game (something you can't do whilst under pressure), I believe that we''ll see a South Africa vs Australia final!

  • Paul - 2010-10-26 10:09

    It's a pity the lions are not there! The Stormers will win - pressure too much for Sharks

  • Jay - 2010-10-26 10:10

    Im looking forward to a great game, funny how all the sharks supporters are already lifting the trophy, both teams are good, its going to be one heck of a match........... As a Province boy I hope my team wins!!!! good luck to both teams and may the best team on the day lift the trophy!!!!

  • One eyed - 2010-10-26 10:18

    A shameless attempt by the media (obviously supporting WP), to create pressure by bringing up statistics based on the past. Most of the articles on here are based on WP statements, past players and one eyed points of view and have created the impression that WP are just about unstoppable - CAREFUL. I am glad to see that there is minimal talk coming from the Sharks, this leads me to believe that are are focussed on the game and not on talking to the press. WILL BE A TITANIC CLASH ----- Sharks to win by 8.

  • Dr Wee Pee - 2010-10-26 10:23

    Its amazing is you think about it. In KZN the majority of the populations main food source is curry, So why is it that the guppies have won the Currie Cup more often. Hell man you should be putting a smile on your dial and giving the opposition a sting in the ring right. But no. All you guppies are actually like a Fireball, all hot in the beginning and the moment you get to the end you a sticky chappy that makes you choke. Bunch of Chokers.

  • Renegade - 2010-10-26 10:31

    The pressure is on the WP and their so called superstars.NOT on the Sharks.It is 9 years since the WP won the cup, so much expections on the WEER PROBEER not to probeer again but to win this time. Go Sharks!!

  • @ Weakest Link - 2010-10-26 10:31

    The front row, i see you live in Nam so i guess your signal is very scrambled as you did not see the last contest were WP out scrummed the sharks all day long? try and get a new LNB for the dish. You are a typical bulls supporter. Go Province.

  • Grill - 2010-10-26 10:32

    I'm going to take a wild guess and say Gavin is a WP supporter. A bunch of very hopeful and untrue statements. Kings Park is famous for parties after the game no matter what the result so your whole "morgue" comment shows me you either don't know what you're talking about or you've never been to what can only be described as one of the greatest rugby atmospheres in the world!

  • GVA@Gavin - 2010-10-26 10:33

    There is big pressure on both teams that’s what finals are all about! So this is a biased article in support of the star studded WP team that have not won even a tin cup in years and the memory of getting smashed up in a recent Super 14 still fresh in their minds!! You telling us the Sharks are under pressure? Ha Ha BTW the Ref is a KZN boy so who is feeling under pressure suckers!! BEE ready for a klap WP !! SHARKS FOREVER!!!

  • WP WP WP (@Weakest link) - 2010-10-26 10:34

    In jou drome. Jy het al klaar vergeet hoe swaar die Beast 'n paar weke gelede teen die WP gekry het - 'n geval van krag sonder verstand. Die Du Plessis broers is geheel en al overrated. Twee skollies op die veld wat eentonige reelmaat strafskoppe afstaan as gevolg van hul vuil spel.

  • Edgar - 2010-10-26 10:37

    Gavin is being paid by Wee Pee to try and un-nerve the Sharks with this drivle. Ain't gonna work buddy.

  • Sharks!!!! - 2010-10-26 10:48

    Let everyone write us off again!!!! Sharks will prevail- due to the fact that we're not a team made up of moviestars ala Bryan Habana!!! Just put together the style of play thats brought us this far and we'll show them!! 100% Sharks Supporter.

  • fikkie-STORMERS SUPPORTER - 2010-10-26 10:52

    well i honestly hope the sharks bring the best game they got its true that on paper things aren't really intheir favour but this is rugby!!..just want a hell of a game saturday from both teams even though WESTERN PROVINCE WILL WIN IT!!!!!ITS BEEN A LONG TIME COMING!!!

  • Sharks Sucks - 2010-10-26 10:59

    Who are the real CHOCKERS of SA Rugby WP or BULLS or SHARKS Currie Cup Finals WON Lost % Won Bulls 31 19 12 61% WP 22 12 10 55% Sharks 12 5 7 42% S14 Finals WON Lost % Won Bulls 3 3 0 100% WP 1 0 1 0% Sharks 3 0 3 0% So winning (only thing they win) hands down the title of SA Rugby Chokers is The Sharks.

  • Jik - 2010-10-26 11:47

    Gee whiz... what is it with everybody clinging onto the past for dear life or basis of argument? WP have won nothing in so long blah blah blah, Bulls have done this in the last drivel drivel drivel... Even the dude that wrote this? I mean really do you have a quota to write towards each week or is it just boredom? How many of the players that played in 93, 2000 etc are going to be running out on Saturday? In the last, I don’t know lets see, 17 years, have things not maybe changed just a little bit?? So the shark players are waking up at 3 in the morning drenched in sweat screaming frantically 93.. not 93 again... I mean really… The majority of the TM wasn’t even 10 years old then. The media, sternly against anything in BLACK and WHITE have been carrying on with this for almost 2 weeks now. 3 Weeks ago all of you got it wrong, but then slowly you poke your heads out again to try and gain credibility .. We don’t care! Were always the under dogs, or the team that’s lucky to be where they are or the other TM didn’t pitch.. Hard to face the truth and swallow the facts.. THE CUP STAYS HERE!! Oh yes, and here’s an idea, if were into roaming around morgues that is… what about PTA? Hatfield anyone? Cheap shot dude… MAY THE BEST TEAM WIN!

  • Weepee - 2010-10-26 11:58

    Oh boohoo!!! cry me a river! Everytime a journo writes an objective article about a game the Sharks are involved in their insecure support base think they are being persecuted. Grow up girls! Province by 15 - WP jou lekker ding!

  • JR - 2010-10-26 12:09

    You can post anything you whant You cannot give WP a cup... Sorry but you have to play the game first. And win..

  • Derek - 2010-10-26 12:16

    Geez Gavin - is this what you call objective reporting?? Just for confirmation, tell us which team you support. If this is your idea of good journalism, I say "Bring on the Media Tribunal!"

  • William Shakespeare - 2010-10-26 12:19

    @Sharks Sucks (2010/10/26 10:59 AM): What are "CHOCKERS"? Some kind of chocolate?

  • Western Bulls - 2010-10-26 12:19

    Amazed to see you guys are just as common as the bulls, but suppose you already know this.. So its a given that most of you blou province supporters will start leaving the stadium at 70 minutes booing your team as you go... Typical Cape, no backbone, singing while they think their winning, then abandoning their team when they realise the hype was unfounded coz they, clearly, don't know anything about rugby, other than what they learn from outsurance and steers... wonder how many of you "visionairies" can even name your entire team.. Uh.. Habana, Burger, De Waal.. wat is daai ander ou se naam nou weer? O ja! Poepol! Nee dis my naam, wag lat ek in die speel kyk.. Yip, nie net lyk my gesig soos n vuil poepol nie, maar ek is def. eene.... ek weet dit want ons is baie baie lief vir poepole hier onder..

  • Derek - 2010-10-26 12:20

    Geez Gavin - is this what you call objective reporting?? Just for confirmation, tell us which team you support. If this is your idea of good journalism, I say "Bring on the Media Tribunal!"

  • Jonathan - 2010-10-26 12:21

    @WeePee - Dream on china - your Cape Town girls aren't going to win this one - the last game at Newlands was a set-up. Are you too blind to see that. Buy lots of Kleenex.

  • Bet the Farm - 2010-10-26 12:23

    Ok look, Im playing in 3 different Currie Cup pools (over 15 people in each one) in Superbru and I'm leading all of them by at least 6 points which is pretty much a landslide. You want to know who's going to win? Ok fine here goes! Sharks by 6 or less. Take that to the bank folks.

  • The Great Shark - 2010-10-26 12:45

    To all you Weer Probeer Suporters. Sorry for you. To all the Blue Tutu's from up north suck on it. For the next 5 years the Currie Cup will make its home at Kingspark. There is no other team in SA that deserve the cup more. All you refs and unions that made sure that the Sharks lost critical games and finals will finaly wake up and see that the Sharks was and will allways be the flagship Union in SA. We have risen out from under all the crap you dished out and we will ensure we stay ontop.

  • Vrystaatse boereseun - 2010-10-26 13:33

    Dalk verloor die WP Saterdag - who cares. Dalk verloor die Sharks Saterdag - who cares. Wat ons almal weet is dat die Bulls Saterdag nie gaan verloor nie. Want hulle moet hy die huis sit en met hul b*llas speel. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  • The Great Shark - 2010-10-26 14:22

    @Vrystaat Se Boerseun. They would need a magnifying glass to find their Balletjies. Shame Klippies & Coke's proffit margin must be taking a knock now that there is no Blue tutu's playing in the final. Maybe Steve Stofsuier should rewrite the song for them. Die Blou Bull weet van wen af nie, Die Blou Bull drink nie meer uit n beker nie nou vra jy my hoekom ek rondsteek. Ek skreeu nie WP nie want ek is dom, Ek skreeu nie OP nie want ek is skom ek skreeu nie Vrystaat nie my fordjie brom. Maybe Billy Ray should write them a song. Dont touch my Ford my 3L Ford

  • gfm - 2010-10-26 15:32

    Gavin is an ex-Shark!!! Hve you forgotten - I believe it is the Sharks who are using him to make WP feel easy about the fina;!!! Julle het maar kort memories ne??!!! Die boytjie is a Shark!!! Teichmann se maat al die tyd

  • Werner Beytel - 2010-10-26 18:29

    @Weepee. I am going to hold you to that. Have you heard the old adage "Pride comes before the fall"? It happened to the Please refresh my memory, how have the Stormers/WP performed in their last 3 games in the Shark tank?

  • Blou Benjamin - 2010-10-27 07:34

    Natuurlik sal hulle panic. Hulle was vrek gelukkig om teen die Blou Bulle te wen en hulle weet hulle kan nie twee keer in 'n ry op geluk staat maak nie. WP, die Blou Bulle is klaar gerob van die beker, Wys die Sharks dat hulle dit nie verdien om in 'n final te wees nie.

  • edk - 2010-10-28 09:43


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