KZN SHARKS Currie Cup Champions
30 October 2010 (19:09) - The Sharks have ended the domestic rugby season as Absa Currie Cup Champions, having defeated Western Province 30-10 at The Absa Stadium Durban on Saturday evening.
The biggest crowd of the year - mostly Sharks supporters - packed The Absa Stadium Durban to witness the country's biggest rugby event of The Absa Currie Cup, the climactic end to what has been a season filled with action and entertaining rugby and a fitting finale between the top two sides in the tournament, The Sharks and Western Province.
The game started off at lightening pace and The Sharks were rewarded early for a wonderful steal in their 22 on defence as Lwazi Mvovo chased down a kick-ahead and offloaded to Charl McLeod to score the opening try.
The visitors were stung soon afterwards as Pat Lambie evaded the best defensive efforts of the stingiest defensive side in the pool stages of the competition to score the second try, he converted and The Sharks held a 17-3 lead.
Lambie added another penalty as WP lost scrumhalf Ricky January on the quarter hour. Although there was talk of employing a ball-in-hand style of play, when they carried, they look dangerous, but some clever kicking as well made sure they played the game in the right areas.
Province had two opportunities to add points but the normally-unerring boot of de Waal proved troublesome as he missed two opportunities during this period. Patrick Lambie by contrast couldn't put a foot wrong, either with the boot, one his own ball or with his varied option-taking and distribution.
And the penalties flowed as WP suffered the same fate as the Vodacom Super 14 Final where their efforts at the breakdown were viewed by referee Craig Joubert as illegal. More worrying for the visitors was the fact that they were getting increasingly battered and bruised, losing Juan de Jongh after Januarie and then Schalk Burger taking a couple of minutes to get off the ground after a heavy knock and then walking very gingerly back afterwards. However, Province did finish the half on a high, scoring a late push-over try to lift their spirits after having trailed by 20 points going into the final few minutes of the half.
The second half took on a different complexion as Province started to enjoy more ball possession, but just when they would make serious inroads in territory, a concerted defensive effort would thwart their best intentions.
In chasing the deficit, Province turned down a number of opportunities to add points to the board and instead kicked to touch, but the lack of reward meant they were always under pressure to play catch-up rugby. The much-vaunted Province backline, loaded with Springboks, simply could not fire against the determined Sharks defence.
Thanks to an awesome vocal crowd effort, The Sharks were constantly buoyed by the involvement of the supporters. And as the half ticked down and neither side able to score, it appeared that The Sharks would be rewarded for a match-winning first half performance.
With the game just about over and the result sealed, Patrick Lambie rounded off a match-winning performance by barging over for a try in the 78th minute.
Crowd: 52 000
The Sharks: 30 (23)
Tries: Charl McLeod, Patrick Lambie (2)
Conversions: Patrick Lambie (3)
Penalties: Patrick Lambie (3)
Western Province: 10 (10)
Tries: Schalk Burger
Conversions: Willem de Waal (1)
Penalties: Willem de Waal (1)