The ghost of Sir Donald Currie settled into his heavenly armchair as he contemplated the destination of the trophy he donated in 1891. In this unusual, Covid influenced year, the 2020 Currie Cup had been won when the Bulls beat the Sharks 26 -19 on 30 January 2021.
Sir Donald wondered whether the Sharks could change that result – after all, there was only a converted try in it. Reminiscing he wondered whether the Sharks would arrive with the same passion and determination as they had on that historic day in 1990 when they beat the Bulls at Loftus to win their first title.
Currie Cup Final 1990
That game had seen Natal captained by Jamieson, marshalled by Stransky and inspired by Bartmann steamroller the Bulls. Stransky ran at the iconic Naas Botha in much the same way as Doug Rollerson had done for the All Blacks in 1981. Bartmann was inspiration personified, showing why he was the South African player of the year in 1990 and 1991. Would Sean Everitt weave the same magic as the legendary Ian McIntosh? Sir Donald took a deep draught of his ghostly beer and considered the Bulls coach. Jake White had already won the Tri-Nations, the Rugby World Cup and achieved success at the Brumbies in Australia with silverware with Montpellier in France and Toyota Verblitz in Japan …apart from the Currie Cup earlier in the year. No babe in the woods this, while Sean Everitt, a Natalian to his fingertips, had yet to move past the Natal teams or take his team to success.
Currie Cup Final 2021
The Currie Cup Final 2021 kicked off and the Sharks tactics were on display from the outset. Ball in hand phase play that was met by a rock-solid blue wall of Bulls. Eschewing a ball in the air approach, Sir Donald considered the Natalians needed to play at a far, far greater pace for their plan to work. Hoped for gaps were not appearing nor were they being created.
Despite being without their star flyhalf Johan Goosen, the Bulls had an excellent replacement in Chris Smith who sent away his centres for classic midfield breaks which the Sharks were unable to stop. Tries being scored by first Harold Vorster and then Lionel Mapoe, followed by a tap and try after a penalty close in to turn 19- 3. A Bulls penalty immediately after the turn put the Sharks in dire straits. Their defence was poor. There was a consolation try by their tighthead Thomas du Toit – a gem in their team and that was all they had to show in a 44-10 loss seeing the Bulls score 6 tries to 1. As expected from a Jake White team, defence was rock solid, basics were drilled and executed – their sole mistake being a line out overthrow enabling Thomas du Toit to score. The Sharks had poor defence and a too slow game plan. Satisfied that his Cup was going to deserved winners, with historic back to back wins in the same year, Sir Donald smiled contentedly and finished his ghostly draught.
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