Cape Town - Legendary former Springbok and Western Province wing Carel du Plessis says he expects his former team to edge the Sharks in Saturday’s Currie Cup final at Newlands.
In an interview with Netwerk24, Du Plessis warned that Western Province will not have it their own way but added: “I think WP have a bit more firepower. They were the pacesetters throughout the season and I’d like to see them pull through. They’re playing exciting rugby and it’s as if they are well equipped in all aspects of the game.”
Du Plessis, who also coached the Springboks in 1997, added that WP’s tough semi-final against the Blue Bulls at Newlands last week could help them in Saturday’s final.
WP beat the Bulls 35-32 after extra-time was needed to determine a winner. They trailed 24-15 in the second half before mounting a comeback and were leading 32-27 when the Bulls forced extra-time with a late try.
Du Plessis said he expected a similar nail-biting affair in the final.
He added that the Bulls were good at disrupting WP and warned that they can expect the same from the Sharks.
“The circumstances are different in a knockout game.”
While Du Plessis predicted WP to sneak a victory, former Springbok and Sharks captain John Smit backed his former team.
Smit, when interviewed on SuperSport’s Afrikaans programme SuperRugby, pointed to the recent Currie Cup finals history between the two teams and hinted that the away team might have the slight edge.
“The history between WP and the Sharks is a bit ironic... it’s almost the team that plays away from home that has more of a chance to win.”
The last three Currie Cup finals between the teams were won by the away side.
WP beat the Sharks 33-21 at Kings Park in 2017, in 2013 the Sharks won 33-19 at Newlands and in 2012 WP won 25-18 at Kings Park.
The last time the home team emerged victorious was in the 2010 final between the sides, when the Sharks won 30-10 at Kings Park.
ALSO READ: A history of WP v Sharks Currie Cup finals