By Jacques van der Westhuyzen
Those who were there that day in 1994 will never forget it. It was the highest scoring Currie Cup final ever and a good few other records were achieved when Free State hosted the old Transvaal at what was then known as Springbok Park.
The cricket ground was used to stage the final as the Free State stadium was being upgraded for the World Cup in 1995. Transvaal's 56-33 victory over Free State was the last time the teams met in the final. Today, at Vodacom Park the teams meet again for the sought-after title as champions of South African rugby.
The match of 13 years ago is still regarded by many as a true classic. Transvaal (now the Lions) went into the game as the undisputed leaders of South African rugby after winning every possible trophy the previous year. They were defending champions and had also picked up the inaugural Super 10 trophy.
The bulk of that Transvaal team would go on to represent their country at the 1995 World Cup, while the Free State was full of youthful talent, including Os du Randt, Ollie le Roux and Naka Drotske. They also had some old hands in the form of Helgard Muller, Chris Badenhorst and Eric Herbert. They were a confident bunch going into the final as they'd topped the log with 14 points, followed closely by Transvaal with 12 points.
However, it was not to be the Free Staters' day as the experienced and well-drilled Transvaal outfit ran riot.
Pieter Hendriks, Hennie le Roux, Charles Rossouw, Johan Roux, Uli Schmidt and Gerbrand Grobler crossed for tries. A penalty try was also awarded to the visitors while Gavin Johnson slotted six conversions and three penalties.
Free State's points came via two tries by André Venter and one by Chris Badenhorst. Eric Herbert scored three penalties, three conversions and a drop-goal.
Transvaal's 56 points is still the highest by a team in the final, while the seven tries they scored is also atop the try-scoring list for a final. The aggregate 89 points in the match is also the highest ever for a final.
The teams on that day
Transvaal: Gerbrand Grobler; Pieter Hendriks, Japie Mulder, Bernard Fourie, Gavin Johnson; Hennie le Roux, Johan Roux; Gerhard Combrinck, Charles Rossouw, Francois Pienaar (capt); Philip Schutte, Kobus Wiese, Ian Hattingh, Uli Schmidt, Balie Swart
Free State: Andre Paulsen; Hendrik Truter, Brendan Venter, Helgard Muller (capt), Chris Badenhorst; Eric Herbert, Tobie Kirkham; Jaco Coetzee, Joe Beukes, Andre Venter; Andre Cloete, Ryno Opperman, Dougie Heymans, Ollie le Roux, Os du Randt