Currie Cup final: Form guide,

The lightning quick S’bu Nkosi’s unavailabilty will be a huge blow for the Durban side. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/

Currie Cup final: Form guide, stats and key match-ups

If history is anything to go by, it should be a cracker.

Currie Cup final: Form guide,

The lightning quick S’bu Nkosi’s unavailabilty will be a huge blow for the Durban side. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/

Form and home ground advantage make the Sharks overwhelming favourites to walk away victorious after the final whistle in their Currie Cup final on Saturday against Western Province.

However, anyone who has more than a fleeting interest in rugby – or sport in general – will know that despite odds being stacked in one side’s favour, it’s never that cut and dried. Particularly if you have seen the recent finals featuring these two sides.

The venue in which the final is held has been a factor, but not in the way you would expect, as it has been the away which has hoisted the trophy aloft at the end of the day in the last two occasions.

Now with form throughout the season determining which team gets to host the final, it makes it just as much of a non-factor too.

This however is all in the past, and it will do both teams great service not to dwell in the past, as a lot has changed since they last met in a final four years ago.

Preparing for a big final involves some retrospective analysis though. As much as it is important to look at your opponent’s strength and weaknesses in order to plot your strategy, it is just as important to have a thorough look at your own team and see what you can change.

Over the last week, the has sure been a lot of zooming in, pausing and rewinding of video footage and plenty of notes have been taken down, all in preparation for what promises to be an epic battle.

Most of us mere mortals may not be in possession of such footage – or may simply not have the time or the desire to pour over it obsessively – but numbers may provide a bit of insight.

Important stats to note

As much as the Sharks have been dominant in this year’s edition of the Currie Cup, it is the visitors who have managed to cross the whitewash more often. The home side have touched down 53 times while Western Province have 59 tries.

The Durban side’s defence will have to be especially resilient in the first phase as their opponents’ runners have been quite devastating, leading the way in the number of line breaks this season with 41.

In individual stakes, loose forwards Nizaam Carr and Tyler Paul lead the charge for either side in successful tackles made. Both have missed just 8% of their attempted tackles this year. WP strongman lock JD Schickerling is also worth a mention for his hard, pile-driving style of tackling.

The young Schickerling is also not afraid to get his hands dirty, as you would expect a member of the tight five. He’s been involved in more breakdowns than any player taking part in tomorrow’s final.

Key match-ups

S’busiso Nkosi’s untimely injury will no doubt be a huge blow for the Sharks. The exciting 21-year old was an early pace-setter in the try-scoring stakes and had managed to cross the line eight times before going down early in the semi-final against the Bulls with an dislocated elbow. Ouch!

Nkosi’s unavailability means that veteran winger Odwa Ndungane gets to start in what will be his final game of pro rugby and has the opportunity to retire in style – being fully involved in a possible victory. It also means that Blitzbokke flyer Seabelo Senatla also has the chance to finish as the competition’s leading try scorer, having already pipped the Sharks youngster with one try.

The boot is always decisive in finals as teams often opt to play it safe and accumulate points by going for the poles whenever opportunity presents itself. All eyes will be on Sharks and Springboks rising star Curwin Bosch (20) as the responsibility for the home side will mostly fall on him. He has so far carried himself well, nailing 79% of his kicks this season and will be absolutely crucial for his team’s chances.

His opposite number, Robert du Preez has been just as impressive and if his form carries into the final, his Dad might just hate it… well not quite.

It’s a family affair for the du Preez – mostly for the team in black and white – as twin brothers Daniel and Jean-Luc, coached by their father Robert Snr, will do all they can to stop their older brother (and son) from having a blinder.

It’s promises to be a cracker and we just can’t wait for 4pm.


Sharks: 15 Garth April, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (c), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.

Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Tristan Blewett, 23 Rhyno

Western Province: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Kobus van Dyk, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Werner Kok, 23 Dan Kriel