Using the Sharks pack as a plough to rip up the Kings Park turf, Western Province won three tightheads on their way to a convincing away win in the Currie Cup final. Tank takes a trawl through the match stats …
In the build up to the Currie Cup final, I picked the duel between Thomas du Toit and Wilco Louw as the one most likely to influence the result in Durban. And as engrossing and titanic as it was, I was probably out by 2 jersey numbers. It was on the other side of the scrum where the real damage was done, with one of the most under rated players in the country, loosehead prop JC janse van Rensburg, making mincemeat of Sharks tighthead Ross Geldenhuys.
The end result was a remarkable scrum performance that formed the bedrock of what turned out to be a convincing 33-21 victory for Western Province to earn them their first Currie Cup title since 2014.
Using the Sharks pack as a plough to rip up the Kings Park turf, the visitors won three tightheads outright, while also earning three scrum penalties as the visitors resorted to illegal tactics in trying to survive. Nizaam Carr’s break from the back of a scrum, which saw him offload to Cobus Wiese for the first try of the second-half, came as a direct result of the space created through Sharks loosies needing to stay attached to an under pressure scrum.
The hosts edged their way to a 21-15 halftime lead to the delight of in front of a passionate crowd of 32 562 people at Kings Park, but the Capetonians owned the second half to score 23 unanswered points and claim the coveted title – their third away victory in five Currie Cup finals against the Sharks since 1995.
And when I say “Owned”, I mean owned! With kicking and defence so key to the modern game, it’s not often that a side playing all the rugby walks away the victors. But using their possession and territorial dominance, WP made over 300 more metres with ball in hand via 38 more carries than the Sharks. They also made more line breaks, tackle breaks, offloads and passes.
And it’s not as if the men in blue and white skipped the tactical stuff. They made more meters than the Sharks via the boot and only missed 12 of their 118 tackles for a solid 92% success rate.
Throw in the 6-1 victory in the maul stats and the 24-13 score in the dominant tackle stat, and this was as comprehensive as coach John Dobson could have hoped for.
A look at all the match stats