Currie Cup

Botha's second chance at Currie Cup 'dream'

2017-10-28 08:55
Ruan Botha (Gallo)

Durban - Sharks captain Ruan Botha goes into Saturday's Currie Cup final against Western Province desperate to get his hands on what he considers the ultimate trophy in South African rugby. 

Now 25, Botha started the 2015 final for Western Province when they were outclassed by the Golden Lions, going down 32-24 in Johannesburg. 

That was a tough pill to swallow for Botha, and when Province did lift the Cup in 2014, he was not part of the match-day squad on the day. 

Since all of that, he has packed his bags and relocated to Durban where he has led the Sharks all season. 

When Botha arrived, it seemed like the Sharks were getting a raw deal given that it came at a time when Pieter-Steph du Toit had just moved in the other direction. 

But now that he has found his feet at Kings Park, Botha's contributions in the No 5 jersey have become invaluable and he has played himself into the Springbok mix for the end-of-year tour with a string of quality displays. 

"It’s a competition that goes back a long way and there is a lot of history," Botha said from Durban this week.

"Being in front and lifting that cup is an ultimate dream and it’s something I can’t achieve on my own. I’m banking on my team-mates to play their part."

The good news for Botha is that there are a couple of other guys - Odwa Ndungane and Keegan Daniel in particular - who know what it takes to win a Currie Cup title.

"Keegan helps out with the forwards keeping them calm and composed and Odwa and Michael Claassens handle the backs," said Botha.

"We’ve got a great mix of new guys playing their first finals and guys who have played a few."

This is the biggest game that a number of players involved would have had so far in their careers, from both sides, and Botha is probably included in that group. 

The fact that he is captain makes this occasion a little more special than 2015, but Botha's philosophy all year has been to keep things as simple as possible in his leadership.

"When coach Robert told me the first time he was going to make me captain, one thing I took on board was not to change anything I was doing," he said.

"That’s how I embraced it ... I’m just using every opportunity I get on the field to do what I do and the leadership is just something extra.

"Throughout this whole season we’ve faced every situation we could, so it’s just to stay calm and composed. Whatever they throw at us, we just have to look up and face it."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 16:00.

Sport24's @LloydBurnard is in Durban covering the Currie Cup final...

Teams:

Sharks

15 Garth April, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit

Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Tristan Blewett, 23 Rhyno Smith

Western Province

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Kobus van Dyk, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Werner Kok, 23 Dan Kriel

Read more on:    sharks  |  currie cup  |  ruan botha  |  durban  |  rugby
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