The Sharks took a big bite out of Western Province's self esteem after thrashing their coastal rivals 30-10 to win the Currie Cup.
The Sharks took a big bite out of Western Province's self esteem after thrashing their coastal rivals 30-10 to win the 2010 Currie Cup championship.
The visitors didn't know what hit them as their hosts ran in three tries to one in a dominant performance that will leave Durban celebrating a famous victory long into the night – and rightly so.
The Sharks out-muscled, outclassed and simply outplayed Western Province in every department as the men from Cape Town capitulated under the continuous intensity from the home side.
The pressure had a telling effect on Province who were their own worst enemy as referee Craig Joubert had no choice but to award the Sharks penalty after penalty, that allowed wunderkind Patrick Lambie to inflict further damage with his boot.
And when the Sharks youngster wasn't popping over three-pointers, he was doing everything else in an accomplished performance that will no doubt see him in green and gold in November.
Province got out of the starting blocks quicker than the Sharks, and were in the board with barely two minutes up on the clock. However, it was to be the last scoring act we'd see from the men in blue and white hoops until four minutes from half-time.
Instead, it was all the Sharks after Lambie first equaled the scores with a well-struck penalty near the touchline and then two quick-fire tries soon followed that ultimately left WP playing catch-up for the remainder of the game.
With Province on attack, the ball was spilled and Lambie countered with a kick up field that was hunted down by Sharks speedster Lwazi Mvovo. The winger beat opposite number Gio Aplon to the ball and then put scrum-half Charl McLeod on his inside over for the opening try of the final.
Lambie added the extras and the Sharks were in front 10-3 after seven minutes.
The Sharks' second five-pointer wasn't far away – and who else but Lambie to bring the capacity crowd to their feet with a brilliant solo effort, that saw the 20-year old shrug off several tacklers for a converted try under the posts.
Another penalty was added three minutes later from Lambie, and a 20-3 scoreline spelled trouble or Province whose pivot Willem de Waal was uncharacteristically off target with two attempts at goal.
The same couldn't be said of Lambie though, who raised the flags once more to stretch the Sharks lead out even further. And it seemed when it rained, it poured for WP after losing two of their Boks – Ricky Januarie and Juan de Jongh – to injury midway through the first half.
At last, lady luck finally shone on Province after captain Schalk Burger was awarded a try by the TMO that could have gone either way. It came after a punishing maul from the visitors, that left the Sharks Trojan defenders under a pile of bodies.
De Waal added the extras on the stroke of half-time that gave their subdued supporters something to shout about, and the 23-10 scoreline at the break some respectability.
The second half was a wee bit better for Province, in that they managed to keep the Sharks scoreless for 38 minutes.
The visitors had managed to assert more authority on their hosts, and won several kickable penalties as a result. But all were turned down by Burger for the hope of tries from a line-out and drive which blew up in the skipper's face as the Sharks denied WP on every occasion.
Panic and desperation started sinking in the Province camp, with the backline risking everything from their own tryline – and the Sharks were all too happy to watch.
With the game all but over, that man Lambie was on hand once again to rub salt into Western Province's wounds with a try at the death that sealed the deal for his team.
Game, set and match – the Sharks crowned Currie Cup champs!
Tries: McLeod, Lambie 2
Cons: Lambie 3
Pens: Lambie 2
For Western Province:
Cons: De Waal
Pens: De Waal
Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Stefan Terblanche (c), 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Eugene van Staden, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Andre Pretorius, 22 Riaan Swanepoel.
Western Province: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (c), 5 Anton van Zyl, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 JD Moller.
Replacements: 16 Hanyani Shimange, 17 JC Kritzinger, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Paul Bosch
Referee: Craig Joubert
By Dave Morris