Currie Cup Final 2018: Western Province v Sharks Preview

rugby players engage into a scrum

Western Province will have a chance at claiming a second consecutive Currie Cup title when they host the Sharks at DHL Newlands on Saturday.


Currie Cup Final 2018
Western Province v Sharks
DHL Newlands
27 October 16h00

To Win (80 mins)
Western Province 5/10
Draw 20/1
Sharks 31/20

Handicap
Western Province (-5.5) 9/10
Sharks (+5.5) 9/10

In what will be a repeat of last year’s final, albeit at a different venue, John Dobson’s charges remain heavy favourites to put one over a side they bested 50-28 at the same venue four weeks ago. In their most recent showing against the Blue Bulls on the weekend, former Shark SP Marais scored an incredible 30-points via one try, two conversions and seven penalties.

If Robert du Preez’s Durbanites are to avenge last year’s final defeat, their discipline will need to be on point. Marais proved in the semi-final win that he is a man capable of making teams pay from virtually anywhere on the field, so any costly errors from the visitors will be punished.

The Sharks will be buoyed by the knowledge that Province will be shattered from their extra-time escapades against their northern rivals in the last four, and a bullish physical display will doubtless give them the edge in a tight contest. With the likes of the du Preez brothers, Juan Schoeman and Jacques Vermeulen in their ranks, they certainly aren’t lacking for bruisers.

Former WP-man Rob du Preez junior, the man responsible for plotting the Sharks’ downfall in last year’s edition, will have a tough battle on his hands in dealing with opposite number Damian Willemse this weekend. Willemse has the ability to spark something from nothing, and du Preez may look to keep him in check by pinning him in his own half.

Along with discipline, the accuracy of both sides may go a long way to determining the outcome of the contest. Playing in front of the hostile Newlands faithful, the men from the east coast simply must remain clinical with ball in hand and convert any pressure into points. They may look to play the game inside Province territory and out of Marais’ range, but they need to capitalize on any opportunity that comes their way.

Province, meanwhile, showed in their semi-final win that they will take shots at goal whenever they can. They are a side that likes to keep the scoreboard ticking over and will rely on their solid set piece to put them in good positions from which to execute. Their ability at turning defence into attack is also a massive feather in their cap, but they too will need to watch their discipline with du Preez junior a confident kicker too.

Verdict: Sharks 31/20
With the mental and physical battering they took in their win over the Bulls, the final may prove a step too far for Province this Saturday. A lot will depend on their ability to create pressure without ball in hand, but it will be the physicality of the Sharks that will enable them to claim a first title since 2013.


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Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets


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