Cape Town – The Sharks were crowned the 2013 Currie Cup champions following their 33-19 win over Western Province in the final at Newlands on Saturday afternoon.
WP, the defending champions, frequently incurred the wrath of referee Jonathan Kaplan and as a result the mounting penalty count took as its toll as Sharks pivot Patrick Lambie was fairly successful with his place-kicks. In the end Lambie contributed 23 of the side's 33 points.
The Sharks took the match by the scruff of the neck and ran up a 10-0 lead in the opening six minutes. Flyhalf Lambie goaled a 35-metre penalty and his halfback partner Charl McLeod intercepted a pass in the WP backline before running in unchallenged to score next to the posts. Lambie converted.
WP’s response was swift and telling. They exerted great pressure on a Sharks scrum some 20 metres out and then secured a turn-over which centre Damian de Allende used to good effect by darting through the Sharks’ backline for a try under the sticks. Catrakilis added the conversion (10-7).
Soon afterwards WP were forced to bring on substitute Schalk Burger as temporary replacement (for about 10 minutes) for flanker Siya Kolisi who has suffered a heavy knock, which required medical attention.
During the last 20 minutes of the first half referee Jonathan Kaplan became the central figure on the field as he awarded a steady stream of penalties in quick succession, mostly to the Sharks.
Lambie was on target two out of four attempts, as well landing a drop goal during this stage, while Catrakilis converted two (19-13), and that allowed the Sharks to secure a 19-13 halftime lead.
After the break, WP and the Sharks each added to the tally in the first 10 minutes via Catrakilis and Lambie penalties respectively (22-16).
Neither side could strike up a rhythm as they failed to impose their playing patterns on the game. Lambie snapped over a second drop-goal in the 52nd minute, Kurt Coleman managed his first points in the match with a penalty three minutes later (25-19).
As the match approached the hour mark, both sides started looking for opportunities to run the ball, with the Sharks looking the more dangerous.
A Sharks raid on the WP 22-metre line proved hard to contain and McLeod squeezed through the smallest of gaps to snatch his second try of the match. Lambie failed with the conversion, but the Sharks had taken a commanding 11-point lead. (30-19)
There could have been more woe for WP in the 65th minute when the Sharks threatened another try but fullback Aplon saved a day with great cover defence at the Railway Stand corner flag.
WP continued to try to cross the Sharks' line, but the 11-point deficit proved too much. lambie added salt to the WP wounds when he succeeded with a fifth penalty two minutes before the final whistle.
Scorers: WP: Try: Damian de Allende . Conversion: Demetri Catrakilis .
Penalties:Catrakilis (3). Kurt Coleman.
Sharks: Tries: Charl McLeod (2). Conversion: Patrick Lambie. Penalties: Lambie (5). Drop goals: Lambie (2). – Sapa