Stunning victory for Sharks

2018-10-29 10:36
There were plenty of hugs, fist pumping, high fives and even tears of joy after the Sharks ended a five-year trophy drought with a gutsy 17-12 win over Currie Cup title favourites Western Province at a packed Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday. The victorious ‘Black and White’ team returned to Durban with the famous trophy on Sunday and, after short formalities at King Shaka Airport, went off for a well-deserved break.

There were plenty of hugs, fist pumping, high fives and even tears of joy after the Sharks ended a five-year trophy drought with a gutsy 17-12 win over Currie Cup title favourites Western Province at a packed Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday. The victorious ‘Black and White’ team returned to Durban with the famous trophy on Sunday and, after short formalities at King Shaka Airport, went off for a well-deserved break. (Howard Cleland)

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Sharks coach Robert du Preez says that an amazing spirit of brotherhood among his players was the key to their success in the Currie Cup this season.

The Sharks ended their five-year trophy drought when they stunned Western Province 17-12 in a tightly-contested affair at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday.

The last time the Sharks won the Currie Cup was in 2013, also against Province in Cape Town, and at the time they were coached by Brad Macleod-Henderson, who had Brendan Venter as part of his technical team and John Smit as chief executive of the franchise.

The victory at the weekend also brought the first piece of silverware for Du Preez as coach of the Durban franchise since he took the reins in 2016.

The coach came close to winning the domestic title last year, but he ended up on the runners-up side with Province claiming the title in Durban.

Going into Saturday’s game, Du Preez and his team knew that they needed more than a good performance to beat Province, who were tipped to defend the title, and they delivered the goods.

“Credit must go to all the players; credit also to the leadership group. Chiliboy Ralepelle has played a magnificent role this year, his leadership and his captaincy has been outstanding,” said Du Preez, who shed a tear after winning the trophy.

“We had a theme over the last weeks called “brother for brother” and the boys really played for each other on Saturday. Credit to every single player in the team, not just the matchday 23 but all the boys that were holding bags for a very long season. They all had a massive role in this.

“Juan Schoeman, our prop, is the guy that came with it [the theme] when we were in a meeting and everyone bought into that. The team comes first and individuals are always second,” said the visibly delighted coach.

There was another special moment for the coach as four medals went to the Du Preez family, with his three sons playing key roles in helping the Sharks to the title.

His eldest son, Robert junior, “defended” the title after winning it with Province last year, while twin brothers Daniel and Jean-Luc got their first taste of silverware at the senior level.

“I’m very proud of Robert junior, I’m very proud of Jean-Luc and Dan. It’s just an absolute honour to have won this title. I’m a very proud dad,” said Du Preez.

“It was definitely a relief to have Robert junior in my team because I’ve never won when I coached against him in the final when he was playing for Maties and obviously Province. I’m glad for him to win these back-to-back Currie Cup titles.”

A modest Robert junior said: “It’s not about me but the team. I’m happy that they go away with the victory. It’s nice to have two Currie Cups behind your name, but I’m happier that the team got it.”

After losing at home last year, coach Du Preez was also happy that they got to upset Province in Cape Town.

“It’s always nice to come to someone’s backyard and win. Province is a great team and they play fantastic rugby, so credit to them and the way that they play,” he said.

“In the final if you take your opportunities, you walk away with the trophy. This is massive for the union. We have to keep on building on this; I believe we have the squad to be a force to be reckoned with in the Super Rugby next year.”

 

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  sharks rugby

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