Forward power saved Sharks game

2008-10-26 00:00

The Sharks and the Blue Bulls, for the past fortnight, have played down the fallout from last year’s Super 14 final, but on Saturday, in the closing moments of the Currie Cup decider, captains Johann Muller and Victor Matfield could see history repeating itself.

The Sharks took the Currie Cup title with a 14-9 win, but, as happened in the Super 14 final, they could have been denied by a last-gasp Blue Bulls try after Francois Steyn missed a kick at goal.

Steyn’s missed conversion with two minutes remaining in the Super 14 final left the door open for Bryan Habana to score his match-winning try; on Saturday evening, Steyn failed with a penalty at precisely the same stage, which kept the Bulls within five points and a converted try fron a win.

“Ja, I must admit I thought about last year when Frans missed that penalty,” Sharks captain Muller said later, echoing the thoughts of everyone who was at King’s Park. “I thought about it again when we lost our own scrum on the final hooter, but our forwards showed real character to shove them off their ball at the next scrum.

“The memory of what happened last year was there, but then I thought we can’t be that unlucky again, not twice in two years.”

Matfield also thought Steyn’s missed penalty had thrown them a lifeline.

“I thought if we could keep the ball alive in those last moments, we could snatch the game again and we came close. Unfortunately, this time we made a mistake and we couldn’t pull it off.”

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