This year’s Currie Cup final is upon us, and the showpiece is definitely set to see the two best sides in the competition battling it out for the oldest rugby trophy in history.
The Sharks will have home advantage taking on Western Province, who believe its their time to claim to coveted trophy.
Western Province last won the Currie Cup back in 2001, beating out the Sharks. The Sharks themselves were the last trophy holders before the Lions claimed it in 2011.
Plumtree has selected 12 Springboks in his match day-22 for the final, unfortunately pushing out many of the players who kicked-off the Sharks’ campaign.
“We do feel for the players that are left out, that makes it hard on those who went through the whole campaign and might not be involved,” said Plumtree.
Plumtree will be at ease selecting the more experienced players though, as WP coach Allister Coetzee has expressed his deep desire to make an impression at King’s Park on Saturday.
“We have got to be accurate in the conditions, we have got to kick well, we have got to chase well, be good in the air, our breakdown work has got to be accurate also and make sure that we give (halfbacks) Nic Groom and Demetri Catrakilis a good platform and good ball,” said Coetzee.
In terms of players, all eyes will be on underused Springbok Pat Lambie, who has shown composure in clinical performances at flyhalf for the Sharks over recent weeks.
For the visitors, Catrakillis will be in the spotlight, although WP will rely on the x-factor of the more experienced players, such as Springbok winger Bryan Habana, who will be looking to continue his dazzling form shown throughout the Rugby Championship.
Kick-off is at 17:00.
The Sharks – 15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Odwa Ndungane.
Western Province – 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Don Armand, 6 Deon Fourie (c), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: 16 Deon Carstens, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Marcel Brache, 22 Joe Pietersen.
Absa Currie Cup Final results 2000-2011
2000 Sharks 15-25 WP
2001 WP 29-24 Sharks
2002 Lions 7-31 Blue Bulls
2003 Blue Bulls 40-19 Sharks
2004 Blue Bulls 42-33 Free State
2005 Blue Bulls 25-29 Free State
2006 Free State 28-28 Blue Bulls
2007 Free State 20-18 Lions
2008 Sharks 14-9 Blue Bulls
2009 Blue Bulls 36-24 Free State
2010 Sharks 30-10 WP
2011 Lions 42-16 Sharks
Most titles won:
31 – WP (last title in 2001, also shared four times)
23 – Blue Bulls (last title 2009, also shared four times)
10 – Lions (last title 2011, also shared once)
6 – Sharks (last title 2010)
4 – Free State (last title 2007, also shared once)
Absa Currie Cup Final records:
Highest winning score: 56-33 (Transvaal vs Free State, 1994)
Most tries by a team: 7 (Transvaal vs Free State, 1994)
Most points by a player: 26 (Derick Hougaard, Blue Bulls vs Lions, 2002)
Most conversions: 6 (Gavin Johnson, Transvaal vs Free State, 1994)
Most penalties: 6 (Thierry Lacroix, Natal vs WP, 1995)
Most drop goals: 4 (Naas Botha, Northern Transvaal vs Transvaal, 1987)
Most appearances: 11 (Burger Geldenhuys, 1977-89; Naas Botha 1977-91)