Currie Cup

Five times hosts were spectacularly frozen in home Currie Cup finals

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The Sharks won the 2018 Currie Cup at Newlands
The Sharks won the 2018 Currie Cup at Newlands
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  • The Pumas and Griquas will meet in what remains the most unbelievable Currie Cup final when they clash on Saturday.
  • The last time two away teams won their semi-final to meet in the final was in 2002 when the Bulls and the Lions beat the Sharks and the Cheetahs respectively.
  • The last away team to win a final was the Sharks in 2018, but away teams winning the Currie Cup final is a common trend.  

From being wedged in a Currie Cup promotion/relegation in 2013, the Griquas and the Pumas will be facing each other in Saturday's Currie Cup final.

The 2013 Currie Cup finalists, the Sharks, and Western Province, didn't even make the playoffs, speaking volumes of how the tournament can and will change shape.

The 2013 final was also notable for the away team winning the final, which feeds into the team of the home team having to have their guard up on game day.

Since the Sharks unforgettably usurped the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in 1990 to win their first-ever Currie Cup title, the 31 other finals have seen the away team win 13 times, including the crazy 1992-1994 streak when the away side took the spoils.

Here are five memorable moments where the hosts were upstaged on what should have been their Currie Cup red-letter day:

1999: Sharks 9-32 Lions, Kings Park

It wasn't just the end of the old Millennium, but the end of an era for the Sharks as discarded Springbok captain Gary Teichmann and Andre Joubert were playing their last matches for the Sharks.

They were key ingredients of the Sharks' 1995 and 1996 Currie Cup wins, but this mix-and-match Sharks group hadn't quite got to grips with the demands of finals rugby.

Tries from Thinus Delport, Chester Williams, and Ruan Boshoff robbed the Sharks of what would have been a fifth Currie Cup title in nine years.

The pain wouldn't end there for the Sharks, as they'd slip up at home and away against Western Province in consecutive finals in the following years before being royally stuffed up by the Bulls in 2003.

They'd only win their next Currie Cup in 2008 when they beat the Bulls 14-9 at Kings Park.

2002: Lions 7-31 Blue Bulls

This was a proper coming-of-age Currie Cup win for the Bulls, whose showings in the tournament were below par.

They were winners in 1998, but didn't fire a shot in anger between then and the 2002 showdown as the Sharks, Lions, and Western Province moved the rugby axis firmly over the Jukskei River.

Fresh off a winless Super 12 season that accounted for Heyneke Meyer's head, he kept his Currie Cup job and quietly rebuilt the Bulls from the bottom up.

They needed to head down the N1 to meet the union they broke away from in 1938 with a starlet in Derick Hougaard.

The then-youngster upstaged incumbent Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius with a virtuoso 26-point performance that marked him out as a future Springbok.

Such was the Bulls' dynasty, they went on to win the following year's Currie Cup, and shared the 2006 title with the Cheetahs before winning outright again in 2009.


2005: Blue Bulls 25-29 Free State Cheetahs

... No Currie Cup story in any decade is complete without a dominant side being unexpectedly derailed at home

The Lions had experienced this in 1992 when they were felled 14-13 by the Sharks at Ellis Park before winning the 1993 and 1994 titles against the Sharks and the Free State Cheetahs in Durban and Bloemfontein respectively.

The Bulls, who had built an excellent head of steam in Super Rugby and continued with it in the Currie Cup, were expected to defend their title.

However, the Cheetahs had shown in the 2004 final when they lost 42-33 that they were far from pushovers.

They were the same in 2005 and having seen off Western Province in an away semi-final for the second consecutive year, they weren't fussed by the prospect of the Bulls.

Not even a 25-15 deficit in the last 10 minutes of the final was enough to scare them, as late tries from Bevin Fortuin and Meyer Bosman shocked a packed Loftus Versfeld into submission.

It was the Cheetahs' first Currie Cup success in 29 years and one that fully they deserved.

2012: The start of the Western Province/Sharks away victor push-pull

While Western Province went through the roughest of 2000s after their 2001 home final success, the Sharks developed a reputation as chokers.

After three Currie Cup final losses in four years, they racked up two home final wins in 2008 and 2010 against the Blue Bulls and Western Province respectively.

The 2010 final was noticeable for two things: The arrival of Pat Lambie as a prodigiously talented pivot and Duane Vermeulen as a loose forward of Springbok repute.

What wasn't noticed in the water at the time was the fact that it would be the last time one of these sides would win a Currie Cup final against each other at home.

The Sharks won that final 30-10, but proceeded to lose the 2012 home one 25-18. They then upstaged Western Province 33-19 at Newlands the following year, but wouldn't meet again in a final until 2017 when Robert du Preez junior deprived his namesake father of a Currie Cup win when Western Province won 33-21.

In 2018, the sides met again at Newlands for a final which the Sharks amazingly won 17-12, continuing the crazy trend between the teams. 

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