- Siya Kolisi is set to add his name to the list of illustrious players who have turned out for both teams, but who are the five greatest Sharks and WP players?
- The luminaries include Pieter-Steph du Toit, James Small and Joel Stransky, some of South Africa’s greatest players of the past three decades.
- Western Province confirmed the Bok captain’s departure last weekend, putting an end to their 11-year affair.
Springbok World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi is set to add his name to the list of illustrious rugby footballers who have turned out for both Western Province and the Sharks in recent history.
Kolisi’s move from Cape Town was confirmed last weekend, sparking shock, outrage, joy and ecstasy in equal measure.
While the 29-year-old has yet to wear the black jersey in anger, his move has also prompted Sport24 to revisit some of the greats who have done it for both unions and franchises (Stormers included), dating as far back as 1990.
Though they may have not been equally great for one team as they were for the other, here are the five greatest players who played for the Sharks and Western Province:
WP: 1994 - 1996
The 1995 World Cup flyhalf hero was part of the 1990 Natal side that shocked Naas Botha’s Northern Transvaal 18-12 to win the Sharks their first ever Currie Cup trophy.
This was, however, in Stransky’s early days as a match-winning pivot. He ventured to Europe soon after turning out for the mop-haired Banana Boys, taking the long way around to Cape Town.
But once he landed back in the country, joining Western Province, he quickly came into national reckoning.
We all know what he did at the 1995 Rugby World Cup final against the fearsome All Blacks.
Pieter-Steph du Toit
Sharks: 2011 - 2015
WP: 2016 - present
The Sharks were wounded when the forward left Durban to return to his Western Cape home and play for Province and the Stormers in 2016.
Who can blame them?
From very early in his career, Du Toit stuck out as a special talent. He could conceivably be the greatest player, on pure talent, on this list.
Although his time as a Sharks was stop-start due to two major knee injuries, Du Toit made a big enough impact to become a Springbok as a Shark in 2013.
However, it’s only when he switched to Cape Town that he grew into the world beating blindside flank that he had threatened to become in his youth.
When injuries stopped plaguing him, we saw the very best of what he could do, culminating in 2019’s heroics in Japan and a World Rugby Player-of-the-Year honour.
WP: 1996 - 2002
Sharks: 2005 - 2007
"Monty" was the professional era’s inaugural darling of Newlands.
The post 1995-euphoria ushered in a wave of carefree talents that could do almost anything on a rugby field.
Montgomery was the poster boy of this era, taking his skills anywhere across the backline from flyhalf, centre and full-back, to magazine front pages and gossip tabloid back pages.
He won three Currie Cup trophies with Province in 1997, 2000 and 2001, before leaving for Welsh club Newport, where he settled before coming back to South Africa in 2005.
On his return, however, Monty went to Durban, where his career entered another gear.
His maturity stood out and he became the pillar of the Sharks teams that hosted SA’s first Super Rugby final in 2007, and the Springboks' victorious World Cup campaign in France that same year.
Sharks: 1993 - 1996
Small was adored in both the east and the west coast, a rare feat.
He was born in Cape Town, grew up in Johannesburg, got his senior start at Transvaal before going to Natal, where he became a demigod.
It was during his time in Durban that he became one of the heroes of 1995, making his mark as a hard-running and fierce-tackling winger with a penchant for the unpredictable.
In 1995, Natal beat WP at Kings Park, with Small teaming up with Andre Joubert and Henry Honiball and led by Gary Teichmann.
In 1997 he moved to Cape Town, where he found Currie Cup success as part of a Province backline that had himself, Pieter Rossouw and Montgomery.
Talk about having your toast buttered on both sides.
WP: 1997 - 2001
Like Monty, Skinstad made his Sharks bow much later in his career.
The No 8 had a turbulent journey that took him from Western Province, where he was part of three Currie Cup-winning squads, to the former Cats, to premature retirement and a surprise comeback in 2007.
The former Hilton College pupil was no doubt a talented back-rower but he had to contend with injuries and an insane weight of expectation from the start of his career.
While he didn’t quite replicate the sensational performances he had in a Province shirt, and the black Stormers jumper, his 2007 comeback to make Jake White’s victorious Springboks as a Shark was a remarkable achievement.
Honourable mentions: Gcobani Bobo, Justin Swart and Dick Muir.