Cape Town Sharks sparkle

Tank Lanning

One of the invites I look forward to most each year is Dave Burger’s invite to the Cape Town Sharks Supporters Club annual golf day, and it did not disappoint last Friday at the Rondebosch golf club.

They are a jovial bunch this lot, with many golfers having come directly from their regular Thursday evening poker night at the club house in Claremont! “Wetting the damp soil” was how regular participant and SI Online Guy, Gareth Rosslee described it … Classic chirp!

To be honest, me and the Sharks fans have not always been firm friends, with their in your face “We are Black, we are White, we are F’ing Dynamite” chant of the 90’s being right up there with the “Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie” that the canary yellows belt out whenever they win something …

Me, I prefer a more the subtle and modest approach of the Kiwis …

But the Sharks have had to work bloody hard for their success, which eventually came in spades from 1990 to 1996 when they won the Currie Cup 4 times in 7 years. And together with an exceptional marketing campaign which was well ahead of anything ever seen in South Africa, perhaps one can forgive them a little brashness in the 90’s …

Relegation to the Currie Cup B-Section came in ’81. They managed to qualify for the Currie Cup final in 1984 despite plying their trade in the B-Section, but for much of the 1980s Natal were written off as a B-Section team punching above their weight. It wasn’t until the arrival of legendary coach Ian McIntosh from Zimbabwe and the return to the A-Section in ’87 that they started to lay the foundations for success in the 1990s.

They won the Cup again in 2008 and 2010 and probably should have done so again this year, were it not for a truly inspiring performance from a young WP side who got out of jail against the Lions in the semi final. Getting the Team of the Year, Coach of the Year, Player’s Player and Super Rugby Player of the Year awards speaks to their success in 2012 …

And I reckon a lot of that can be put down to the support they get from around the country – despite having to play to a half full stadium regularly these days … Even in Currie Cup finals!

This is a shout out to the Cape Town Sharks Supporters Club – well done on what you do in my home town, and thanks for a magnificent welcome to the weekend on Friday. Good to chat to John Plumtree and Grant Bashford who both made the effort to get to the day, but then again, why wouldn’t you?

Speaking of the awards, it was interesting to see how the 8 main awards were shared between the Sharks and Western Province – clearly the 2 standout provinces in 2012. The Sharks Currie Cup team getting the Team of the Year without winning it might have SARU scrambling a little … Especially since WP were not even nominated (and neither were the Stormers) … Why not give it to the SA U20 side for winning the Junior World Cup, or the Sharks Super Rugby side for making the final?

The main SA Rugby award winners:

Rugby Player of the Year: Bryan Habana (WP)

Players’ Player of the Year: JP Pietersen (Sharks)

Team of the Year: Sharks Currie Cup team

Coach of the Year: John Plumtree (Sharks).

Young Player of the Year: Eben Etzebeth (WP)

Super Rugby Player of the Year: Keegan Daniel (Sharks)

Currie Cup Player of the Year: Deon Fourie (WP)

Vodacom Cup Player of the Year: Demetri Catrakilis (WP)

One Comment

  1. Natal started to achieve results once MacIntosh realised that in order to compete against the big guns he needs some big “beef” up front. This saw the arrival of Guy Kebble(could only scrum), Tommy Lawton etc – just after that players like Vleis Visagie, Gerhard Harding and the massive Argentinian hooker arrived – he had strong loosies like Baartman, Plumtree, Teichman – this also brought back Joubert and Honiball. This after many years of the Izaak van Heerden rubbish called running rugby.

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