Sharks fans played big part in Currie Cup win

Sharks coach John Plumtree said the 54 000 spectators at the stadium played a huge part in his team securing a 30-10 victory over Western Province in Saturday’s Currie Cup final.

The Sharks won their second Currie Cup title in three years – reclaiming the trophy from the Blue Bulls who won it last year.

“It was so special, especially in front of that crowd. It was amazing and it was so important that we secured that home semi-final as you could see just what a difference it makes,” said Plumtree.

After securing a 23-10 lead at half-time the Sharks denied Province from scoring any points in the last 40 minutes.

“We had to hang on defensively and I think the crowd helped tremendously along the way,” said Plumtree.

One of the star performers for the Sharks was young Patrick Lambie who scored 25 of his team’s points.

Although Plumtree admitted Lambie was outstanding, he emphasised the victory would not have been possible had it not been for the team’s collective effort.

“I don’t want to single out a player as this was a serious team performance,” said Plumtree.

“The way we played as a team tonight was amazing and the big thing here is that it doesn’t matter which individuals you have — it was a team effort.

“This is possibly one of the best team efforts if you consider that we just beat two Super 14 finalists to get this trophy and that can’t be underestimated,” he said.

“He [Lambie] had a huge game tonight and that shows you he took quite a few shifts mentally and decided to grow up quick in his first Currie Cup.

Plumtree also said he was nervous during the times Province were in the ascendancy.

“We didn’t think we would get out to a lead like that [in the opening quarter], our discipline sort of failed a bit at times, but the thing is that character shows in defence,” he said.

“We knew we could attack but there were times that we had to defend for a long time – perhaps too long for my liking.”

Seeing so many Sharks players in the Springbok squad also brought a smile to Plumtree’s face.

“When Keegan Daniel was left out of the original training group we were horrified so telling him that he was a Springbok tonight was probably one of the most pleasurable things I could do.

“After the frustrating Super 14 – we thought we could do it in the Currie Cup. We played good attacking football and we toughened mentally as a group in this Currie Cup.”

Sharks captain Stefan Terblanche was also in great spirits after the match even though he was sporting a few bruises.

“Before half-time there was a momentum sort-off in Province’s favour and at 23-10 we were under the pump, so it is great that the guys pulled through,” said Terblanche.

It was also centre Andries Strauss’ last match for the Sharks – Strauss will be joining the Cheetahs next year – and Terblanche described his contribution as crucial to their success.

“He’s [Strauss] been immense this season and he has been a team man through and through. Players don’t always know when it’s their last game and he knew that tonight and again put his body on the line,” said Terblanche.

Looking ahead to next year’s Super 15 competition, Plumtree said they are heading in the right direction.

“Building blocks are in place for how we want to play this game. Win or lose we will be attacking from all parts of the field and that is how this game needs to be played.”

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