Sweet as honey for WP, Sharks

2010-10-16 22:08

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Johannesburg – It was the day when the Sharks were stung into action and Western Province pitched up with an impressive bee in their bonnets.

And now you might feasibly venture that there will be a proper buzz about the place when these coastal rivals meet in the Absa Currie Cup final in Durban on October 30.

Saturday’s semi-finals, marked by delays to both matches – the later Newlands one only slightly to cater for live television needs after the bizarre Absa Stadium swarm-of-bees intrusion – fittingly saw the first and second-placed sides from the round-robin phase advance to the domestic showpiece.

The Sharks staved off the Blue Bulls 16-12 in an uncompromising struggle which saw the visitors’ monopoly on major silverware – last year’s Currie Cup and successive Super 14 crowns – come to an abrupt halt.

Meanwhile, in an altogether faster-paced and more open encounter played out in contrastingly idyllic conditions in Cape Town, Province operated with enviable zest, thrust and intelligence to flatten the Cheetahs’ aspirations by an unexpectedly wide 31-7 margin.

So in a fortnight’s time this weekend’s victors will cross swords for the first time in a final since 2001, when WP earned their last hold on the Currie Cup with a 29-24 win in unusual sultry conditions at their home ground and with a rumble of thunder overhead as they hoisted the spoils – perhaps it was an omen reflecting their many lean years to follow?

Then, Corne Krige had led a come-from-behind Province effort in which they were significantly outgunned in the first half but a moment of solo magic from flyhalf Chris “Kleintjips” Rossouw sparked their wake-up and Braam van Straaten, in his last outing before heading overseas, registered a record-equalling 24 points in a final.

The Streeptruie had also won the cup in Durban a year earlier (25-15) and have triumphed on three of the four occasions these sides have met for the prestigious spectacle.

But history will count for little in two weeks: bookies will probably be scratching their heads as we speak over which team to install as favourites.

Home advantage quite obviously works in favour of the Sharks, but countering that is the fact that Schalk Burger and company knocked over these foes 33-21 only seven days ahead of the semis, and appear to have hit a vibrant new “peak” at a very good time.

Then again, the ease with which Stefan Terblanche’s troops prevailed in the Durban round-robin meeting (27-16) may also carry some weight in assessing prospects, so the old saying “it’s anybody’s game” could hold credibility once more.

The Sharks are under slightly less pressure from their own faithful to secure the trophy, as they held it aloft as recently as 2008, having beaten the Bulls, the very team they kept at bay on Saturday, 14-9 at home.

But the elation and emotion with which many Sharks players greeted the final whistle of this knockout game, which ended in lashing rain, leaves no doubt as to their steely intention to recapture the domestic bragging rights.

It was a remarkable match in the sense that the hosts bossed possession and territory so emphatically for long spells that they really ought to have put the Bulls out of their relative misery much earlier.

Yet never did the scoreboard reflect a gap bigger than one converted try, which kept spectators on the edge of their seats even if fleet-footed three-quarter play was in short supply.

What became of the Bulls’ supposed big guns? Household Springbok names like Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw and Morne Steyn struggled to impose themselves – and Botha flirted dangerously once or twice with late-barge illegality – as the men from Pretoria were forced into energy-sapping, grim defence for the most part.

Instead the muscle and belligerence on this occasion came more from Sharks forwards like the Du Plessis brothers, Bismarck and Jannie, and Willem Alberts, who put in a juggernaut performance as a ball-carrier and was rightly rewarded with a call-up to a Bok training camp.

He is exactly the sort of player to unleash on the northern hemisphere winter, where every yard gained in driving play makes a difference and healthy field position is a priceless ally.

Keegan Daniel’s pace to the breakdown and in general play was also influential, until Deon Stegmann made a belated appearance off the Bulls bench for the last quarter to help level things up a bit.

There is one thing you must give the Bulls credit for: they threw the kitchen sink in the last few minutes, and had they stolen this match – unjustly or not – we would have been singing their praises, no doubt, as a team well-versed in the art of tilting vital, end-of-tourney fixtures their way.

Things were way more clear-cut at Newlands, where a sun-soaked and delirious near-capacity crowd revelled in WP’s vitality against the plucky but ultimately powerless Cheetahs.

Province’s all-round game purred like a just-serviced engine, with the pack working as a cohesive unit, doing their “basics” splendidly and also combining thrillingly at times in attacking raids with such elusive, multi-dimensional figures as Jean de Villiers, Gio Aplon and an encouragingly resurgent Bryan Habana.

Why, even the supposedly robotic Willem de Waal was beginning to join in the fancy-stepping party as WP increasingly turned the screws, while doing his usual prolific thing off the kicking tee.

Roll on October 30 …


  • Di - 2010-10-16 23:06

    A sweet, sweet day for Sharks supporters. Nothing feels as good as wiping the arrogance off Bulls supporters faces, esp living in bulls country:)

  • Freddy - 2010-10-16 23:41

    The 2 finalists do not desrerve it!!

  • Sharkykzn - 2010-10-17 03:34

    Way to go boys, now bring home the trophy, you can sink WP as well.

  • Koos Kaap - 2010-10-17 04:52

    Was weer 'n slag lekker om 'n kannie-dood WP ondersteuner te wees. Oor twee weke sal dit egter 'n ander storie wees. Die Sharks is 'n uitstekende span met min swak punte. En dan het hulle nog Willem Alberts ook! Wat 'n yster

  • Prings - 2010-10-17 05:56

    What, no comment from all those Bulls supporters, who, at the beginning of the season, berated WP. Methinks a bunch of very sore losers, well done WP

  • Jakes - 2010-10-17 06:03

    Congratulations to the Sharks and WP, well played, looking forward to a final with excellent RUGBY.

  • IZ IT - 2010-10-17 06:20


  • AI AI AI.....i - 2010-10-17 06:22

    They should have brought Stegmann on earlier to "even things up a bit", as the article says. What a pity.

  • Freddy - 2010-10-17 07:08

    The BULLS are still CHAMPS by virtue that they have won two out of three major trophies this season, that is the Super 14 and the Vodacom Cup. The Currie Cup was left as a CONSOLATION PRIZE for the other teams to compete.

  • Victor Matfield - 2010-10-17 07:09

    Sorry guys/girls/moms/dads/children/cows and bulls that we have lost (chocked).It was AAPSA's fault or was it ours,i can't remember.There was a third force behind this loss (bees on the field).

  • Bigfoot - 2010-10-17 07:16

    Rob Houwing, Sports writer........Mate, Pieter Rousouw was known as "Slapchips", not "Kleinchips". Seems most armchair fans are far well versed on rugby than the journalists and commentators for that matter?

  • BALSAK(alias Blue Bul Hater) - 2010-10-17 07:23

    Despite WP and the Sharks being the BEST teams in this year's domestic competition, there is still a LOT of BLUE BULLS in the 39 man springbok squad. Can that be explained to me, or is it just a SMOKE SCREEN, as most of them will not be in the touring squad to the UK??? Geluk aan die SHARKS en my GELIEFDE WP!!! WP jou MOOI DING!!!

  • gb - 2010-10-17 07:31

    The experts predicted WP and Bulls. And then came Marius Jonker ...

  • Joe - 2010-10-17 08:35

    En nou ? Wat se al julle arrogant dik-nek Blou Bulle supporters - julle is almal 'n klomp LOSERS !!

  • Chris - 2010-10-17 08:41

    Jake White predicted , oud Springboks predicted , bookies predicted , the whole of Pretoria predicted, a bulls wp final but no one gave the best team in the CC a chance ???? Well done boys , now the same for wp !!!

  • p123 - 2010-10-17 08:49

    Suck on that arrogant Bulls supporters!!!

  • Don - 2010-10-17 09:11

    It's not Chris “Kleintjips” Rossouw you fool, it's slaptjips...please explain to us all what kleintjips is....there is no such word....geeeezzzz.and this from the Sport24 chief writer!!!

  • Gaz - 2010-10-17 10:53

    Well the Bulls 'Bok' players certainly looked 'very well rested' yesterday, in fact, did they know they were playing a semi? Someone please tell Spies he is massive, don't think he knows it. Horrible to watch, very dissapointing Bulls. :( Well played Sharkies - clear game plan from the kick off

  • Sharks BO!! - 2010-10-17 10:56

    Waar is al die groot-bek Blou bul supporters nou? Julle kon nie eers die finaal bereik met al julle sogenamde onoorwinbare Springbok spelers. Die beste span het gewen op die dag. Blou bulle is almal "hasbeens" wat verby hulle "sell by date" is. MOOI GESPEEL SHARKS!!

  • skywalker - 2010-10-17 10:59

    Whoop,whoop....coastal dominance is here to stay....and the look on Whiney Strydom's face...PRICELESS...!!

  • Graeme the Blue Bull - 2010-10-17 11:10

    Well done to the teams that have gone through - as the table suggests, these are the two best teams in the country, for now : - )) I think WP will take the final, as they are the most exciting team, and their skill in the back is the best. I wont write off the Sharks on their home ground. They starved the Bulls, and could do the same to the WP. I cant wait to see the game. As a Bulls suporter I was very dissapointed. We cant always win. The signs of the Bulls taking a downward slope was evident from the begining of the Currie Cup. But every one that I know, even those who watch soccer were happy to see the Bulls fall. Enjoy!!

  • Ina - 2010-10-17 12:17

    These 2 teams deserve the Final Did play good rugby during the Whole Curricup

  • Robert van Wyk - 2010-10-17 13:15

    This is how its done Streeptruie !! Well done !!!

  • Nico Botha - 2010-10-17 14:02

    Rugby Union results from South Africa

  • Rob Houwing replies - 2010-10-17 14:15

    I do not not normally "comment on comments" but must swiftly correct know-alls Bigfoot and Don, ridiculing my description of Chris Rossouw as "Kleintjips". That was very much the flyhalf's nickname! Astute rugby followers will know, of course, that his more illustrious brother Pieter was indeed "Slaptjips".

  • trev2 - 2010-10-17 14:34

    Hahahahaha! All you 'experts' slating Rob Houwing about 'Kleintjips': PIETER Rossouw was Slaptjips. CHRIS Rossouw his younger brother is referred to in Rob Houwing's article. YOUNGER brother = 'Kleintjips" - get it? Having said that I do not remember Chris being referred to by that nickname.

  • Cheetah - 2010-10-17 14:39

    The Bulls supporters are often mooted as arrogant, and there is a measure of truth. Reading comments of mostly WP supporters shows its a case of the pot calling the kettle black. WP and the Sharks are deserved finalists, however the comments of mostly WP supporters claiming that the Bulls dynasty is over, and that the coastal teams have usurped the Bulls is rather presumptious, especially WP have not done anything in the past decade to suggest that they can consistently dominate the CC. I mean really one final reached in a decade, and they haven't even contested it, but they carry on as if they have been in the same class as the Bulls?? Please, at least the Sharks, have some claim to fame, but the WP?? I am a Cheetah, and they played poorly on Saturday, but even they have been more of a threat than the WP... Arrogant sods, 1st win more than one trophy before claiming that you now rule the roost!! Plonkers!!

  • Shark Man - 2010-10-17 14:46

    Not so easy to come to Durban, is it you bunch of bone heads!!!!?? We need to get rid of the aging Bull/Springboks like Victor (the unvictorious), Bakkies. Spies should lose some weight so he can learn to run again. the mighty Bulletjies beaten by a team marshalled by a 19 year old flyhalf. and we dont even have King John captaining us!!!!

  • boggom - 2010-10-17 17:18

    @Cheetah. Shame it hurts that much huh...? Also I fail to see the alleged arrogant comments from mostly WP supporters (suggesting more than one) on this article, maybe you can specify one or two... Anyway, I'm glad WP won the semi (and in my book that's all it is) and gets the opportunity to challenge the favorites for the honor being crowned curry cup champion for the year. Also I have a great admiration for the Cheetahs as a team and the game they play every year. Good luck to the WP and Sharks in their preparations for October 30.

  • Canuck WP supporter - 2010-10-17 18:02

    If Don and Bigfoot are WP supporters, then I hang my head in shame. If they support any of the other teams - you're forgiven for your ignorance.

  • Bloubul 4ever - 2010-10-17 19:46

    Well done Sharks, you are deserved finalists, you played well for the full season. watch out for the final though, Province could definately take it. i am a proud Bulls fan, and am sorry to see that so many of you think we are all arrogant know-alls, I am the first to admit we were lucky to reach the semis as our game never looked like it was what we have become used to in the past few seasons. Every team gets their chance to take the Cup, therefor I am content in knowing my team(and every other team for that matter) will get their chance again. Looking forward to an awesome final in two weeks!

  • Eugene van der Walt - 2010-10-17 20:28

    Well well, Sharks undeserved finalist - Marius Jonker definetly man of the Man; WP outplayed a really ridiculous out of form, stupid Cheetahs team, Mark Lawrenced saved the Cheetahs some embarrasment, however, it's done and dusted, now for the Final - the Sharks should not be too confident.....

  • Pipes - 2010-10-17 21:49

    Ja Eugene, Klink vir my net na nog 'n suurgat Blou bul.... he he

  • Chris in Oz - 2010-10-17 23:42

    @Freddy. So who would be worthy finalists? The two LOOOOOOSERS? Face it, the Bulls lost. They are not the best. They were not even worthy of a semi-final place. The Sharks or WP will now hoist the most important trophy in SA rugby. Yes the CC is more important than the S14.

  • Cliff Bradley - 2010-10-18 01:13

    Must say as a WP supporter I'm very relieved that we're not playing the Bulls in the final. The Sharks got them on a bad day (Bulls will probably beat any team 9 out of 10 times at this stage) and i guess we're in with a chance. But let's appreciate the Bulls for what they've done in the last decade and also overall for SA rugby. As much as I love Province, they still not nearly in the league of the Bulls and hopefully we can just be half the team they are in the next 10years.

  • Gustav Brummer - 2010-10-18 05:53

    Am I glad that the rsholes fm pta didn't make it!! What a sh!t game they had...with how many springboks? Now Pieter De Villiers has a problem, cause he was showed that real rugby isn't played in pta! Well done Sharks and Province. Whoever wins, you nailed the so called "best team".

  • rock your cage - 2010-10-18 07:17

    @chris in oz, CC more important than Super 14.....LOL LOL. Ja just because its the only trophy you can win, bulls did not deserive it i agree. BUt ask yourself this, who was the best union the past 10 years? 3 x Super 14 Champs (5 Semi's) 4 x CC champs1 x shared and 7 finals. To call the Bulls loosers and whatever just shows your lack of intellegance and shows your a douche. Well Done to Sharks, they were the better team hope they wip the check-book team WEEPEE.

  • Gerhard Benade - 2010-10-18 07:26

    I am a Bull supporter and want to congrautulate the Sharks players and supporters. You played very well and deserved thoroughly to win - no excuses. It is going to be a great final between two very good teams and should be a great match to watch! It will be very good for South African rugby if between the Sharks and the Stormers they can start winning more trophies since it will motivate the younger players.

  • Torro Azur - 2010-10-18 07:28

    As a Bull supporter I will now withdraw from these forms until the appropriate time. The departing message is this: WP if you donot beat the Sharks with a 20 plus margin their are still serious problems internally. Sharks tough luck try again next year like the rest of us!!!!!!!

  • Gerhard Benade - 2010-10-18 07:32

    I am a Bull supporter and want to congrautulate the Sharks players and supporters. You played very well and deserved thoroughly to win - no excuses. It is going to be a great final between two very good teams and should be a great match to watch! It will be very good for South African rugby if between the Sharks and the Stormers they can start winning more trophies since it will motivate their younger players.

  • @Cliff Bradley - 2010-10-18 07:34

    Sound to me like you WP supporters are already shaking in your boots....

  • piepies - 2010-10-18 07:41

    Coastal domination hoe great is dit die ref het die bulle heeltyd gehelp maar die ou balle koni by die jonges bly,ek moet se Lambi morne soos n poloka lat lyk hehe,sharks fo eva

  • Jik - 2010-10-18 07:55

    And I paste: After reviewing the comments my input is as follows... Man for man bulls are better? Surely not... Stupid excuses? Unfounded.. Fantastic rugby! You have to be stupid to even attempt making excuses.. To the gentleman bulls (Think all 5 of you are on here : ) ), good show, the rest of you, only typical and note that nobody cares what you think.. Mattfield, Spies, Potgieter, Steyn, Botha etc, how embarassing, spies looked like a plat anna being thrown around and mostly backwards in the mud by Daniels,lol... Awesome.. Yr team has always been over rated, always good to have a back up plan but due to lack of depth, you clearly play one style, and it cost you.. I told you that you wont make the finals, but you couldn't help yourselves. Lets hope the Springboks reflect some true talent from our clubs.. Dnt want a repeat of the tri-nations... Supposedly Hougaard told Gareth Cliff yesterday that if it wasn't for the bees the game would have started on time and so missed the rain with the bulls winning.. Laughable... So you are a one weather team.. We actually already knew this, your perfect conditions were also hampered by good honest refereeing.. I try to remember a tournament that you have won without the ref's blou onderbroek showing and as commented before, at the end of the 80 minutes mark not up to 85 minutes, and nothing comes to mind.. We all know you dnt deserve yr resume!! Lastly.. Province/Stormers, WTF?? You guys have one good super 14 and all of a sudden your just as bad as the bulls themselves with regards to arrogance and poor commenting... Dnt be fooled, ref gave you guys a lovely run in on Saturday, but we will destroy you in just under 2 weeks... Apropos 55% of readers say it will be a WP- Bulls Newlands final? I said last week its shocking how 55% of you don't know what your talking about... Dnt be so fickle as to believe the hype, form your own, true, opinions based on your teams performance, it will save you embarrassment later.. Ask the bulls... Show yr class, yr always already 2 comments away from being toothless, dnt set yourself up for it, the clock is ticking… All the bulls supporters playing nice or not commenting are only waiting for your demise at the Tank, then all their embarrassment, regret, anger and humiliation for this weekend will be released on you… We are talking brain rugby, use yours and stay humble.. That farce we gave you 2 weeks ago, be honest with yourselves and take it for what it was.. Epic foresight, and how sweet it is watching a great strategical season plan unfold…

  • Ice - 2010-10-18 07:55

    Freddie come on the bulls were outplayed , and the only reason you have the S14 cup is because the ref gave it to you , so what the bulls plans now buy the sharks team or will a couple of players also have major lung problems like Spies a couple of years ago

  • Laeveld Stormer - 2010-10-18 08:00

    On the poll I also voted for a WP bull final but strangely enough my gut told me the Sharks were going to pull it off and man, did they! WELL DONE SHARKS, I was almost more extatic with your win then ours! haha, not really but close! And nobody expected the WP to dominate like they did, what a scoreline boys WELL DONE!!! It's going to be massive in two weeks time. Good luck to both teams!!! PROOOOVINCE!!

  • Bulls supporter - 2010-10-18 08:00

    ..well done WP...!!! ...well done Sharks..!!

  • Bulla - 2010-10-18 08:10

    @Cliff Bradley ......baie geluk met die WP span se oorwinning... ..Die WP speel baie goeie rugby..

  • concerned_citizen - 2010-10-18 08:13

    Who's got BMT now!? Well done to the my Sharkies.

  • boggom - 2010-10-18 08:22

    @Jik. Funny you should mention WP supporters being arrogant and making bad comments and straight after that you go into how fickle and stupid everybody is and how the sharks are gonna win the final etc. Relax - the Sharks are the favorites and have home ground advantage there's nothing to worry about, or is there?

  • Deon2 - 2010-10-18 08:39

    As a Bull supporter I just want to say congrats to the Sharks & WP. They were the best teams and that is why they are at the top of the log. WP by 12 because the Sharks beat us by only 4 points and we (Bulls) played real bad on Saturday.