Another Currie Cup in the bag ... Jake White’s Bulls having the time of their lives
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CAPE TOWN - Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee said it is “probably one of the best nights of my life” after his team steam-rollered the Sharks 44-10 to clinch a second Currie Cup title in a row at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night.
The Pretoria side claimed their 25th championship and became the first team to win the tournament twice in the same year after clinching their 24th crown in January.
They also produced a record victory in a final with a 34-point winning margin, going past the Northern Transvaal side of 1980, who beat Western Province 39-9.
The last time a team won the Currie Cup back-to-back in outright fashion was in 2004, when the Bulls pulled off three in a row from 2002 to 2004.
The Free State Cheetahs almost repeated that feat, but didn’t quite pull it off as they won it in 2005, shared it with the Bulls in 2006 and were the champions in 2007.
Jake White’s team were just too physical upfront and too smart on attack for the out-gunned Sharks, who weren’t able to convert their possession into points, and conceded six tries and scored just one.
“Thank you to all the fans who cheered us on – it was a pity you couldn’t be here today. We really cherish it, and it is probably one of the best nights of my life!” Coetzee told SuperSport in a post-match TV interview.
“It’s not about individuals – this is a team effort, and every guy did his part. Even the guys that didn’t play… the work they do behind the scenes, giving info. The coaches’ hard work, and every player knew they had to step up.
“We said before the game, ‘A champion arrives’, and these boys definitely arrived today! Very proud of them.
“I just want to thank the Sharks for a good game. They are really a great team, class outfit. They came with everything, in high spirits… It happens in sport, but I’m sure they are a team on the rise and we back them all the way for the next championship.”
Man-of-the-Match Elrigh Louw was a dominant force at No 8, carrying the ball strongly, putting in big tackles and even winning penalties at the breakdown.
An 𝐄![CDATA]>𝐏![CDATA]>𝐈![CDATA]>𝐂 post-match interview with Marcell Coetzee in front of the entire Bulls squad, before the team celebrate being crowned #CurrieCup champions 🏆— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) September 11, 2021
The award was a perfect birthday present for Louw, who turns 22 on September 20.
“I’m a bit lost for words. It’s a massive occasion, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of the other guys. Not just them – it’s a group of 45, with management and everybody doing their part to make this happen. It was always a dream, and that is what I work for. Just honoured to be here,” he told SuperSport afterwards.
Sharks captain Phepsi Buthelezi, meanwhile, apologised to his team’s fans for a disappointing performance.
“Simply just not good enough from us. We read really well during the week, and we had a great plan. But today, we just had a lot of things not go our way, and we were just simply off the pace,” the No 8 told SuperSport.
“Our discipline let us down, our execution… a lot of things really – the list goes on and on. I just want to thank the boys for the effort this season, and want to thank our fans for supporting us.
“(I want to) apologise for tonight. It obviously wasn’t good enough from our side. So, we will go back and have a look at ourselves, and look at fixing it going forward.”