The Mercury rugby writer Mike Greenaway takes a look back at the last three Currie Cup finals between the Sharks and Western Province.
2010: Sharks 30-10 WP (Kings Park)
The Sharks had finished top of the log, but nobody knew with confidence what would happen in the final because in the final league game of 2010, the Sharks had been given a smack by Province in Cape Town. The Sharks’ “favourites” tag was a touch shaky.
As it turned out, this proved to be the famous Patrick Lambie final. The baby-faced teenager delivered arguably his best ever performance for the Sharks in scoring 25 points including two tries, one of which was hallmarked by a remarkable hand-off of Schalk Burger en route to the Province posts.
Lambie’s haul of 25 points was the second highest ever by an individual in a Currie Cup final.
The record-holder remains Derick Hougaard (26 points for the Bulls against the Lions in 2002). With Lambie delivering a virtuoso performance, the visitors were never really in the game and Sharks lock and captain Johann Muller capped his farewell game for the Sharks by holding aloft the Cup.
2012: WP 25-18 Sharks (Kings Park)
Not since the 2007 Super 12 final between the Sharks and the Bulls was Kings Park silenced as on this great day for Western Province. Not many had given the visitors a chance.
The Durban men had topped the Currie Cup log and were in fine form, while Province were fielding an injury-hit and under-strength team. They were rank underdogs, and the home side did much of the playing in the first half, but could not make it count on the scoreboard.
Then, just before halftime, WP centre Juan de Jongh scored a brilliant try that changed the game. Province went into the break with belief.
The Sharks threw everything into the second half, but heroic scrambling defence kept them out and, against the odds, it was WP captain Deon Fourie who held aloft the trophy before a stunned Kings Park.
Does this sound like something you’ve heard before? Like when Province beat the Sharks in Durban three weeks ago?
2013: Sharks 33-19 WP (Newlands)
There was a firm favourite. This time the Sharks were overwhelming underdogs against a Province side that was unbeaten.
The Sharks were rebuilding after the departure of coach John Plumtree and had a stand-in coach in Brad Macleod-Henderson, but they did have the brains of Director of Rugby, Brendan Venter, on a three-month contract.
The Sharks flew into Cape Town on the morning of the game (this had never happened before and has not been repeated) and under captain Keegan Daniel, they went into the game with new tactics.
The Sharks had to come up with something different to unsettle the favourites.
They did exactly that, opting for chip kicks over the defensive line and deft grubbers past defenders.
The Sharks then turned on the pressure and counter-attacked ferociously from errors. Even the Sharks could not believe the handsome scoreline in the end.