Sharks crowned 2018 Currie Cup champs after defeating hosts Western Province 17-12

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NEWLANDS, Cape Town, October 27 –The Sharks were crowned 2018 Currie Cup champions after defeating hosts Western Province 17-12 in Saturday’s final at Newlands Stadium, Cape Town.

The visiting Sharks outscored WP 2-0 in the try count and scored all 17 match-winning points in the second half after trailing 6-0 at the break.

WP lost the first lineout of the match in the second minute, and that pretty much set the tone for the opening 10 minutes as they failed to capitalise on territorial and possession advantage.

Once the Sharks managed to reverse the flow of the match they looked the more likely to score after they pinned WP down in their 22m area for some seven minutes, but they too failed to capitalise.

Midway through the half WP left wing SP Marais opened the scoring with a 35m penalty,  just moments after WP lost another lineout (3-0).

Up to this stage, the teams were somewhat evenly matched and the match was crying out for a moment of magic to unlock the defences. There were a few promising situations but the defences stood firm.

Sharks prop Thomas du Tot barged over the tryline in the 29th minute, but after the TMO intervention, the try was disallowed.

Two minutes later the Sharks again had the TMO on duty, but again without success.

WP managed to shake off the Sharks’ stranglehold when they won a scrum penalty right under their own posts.

Four minutes ahead of halftime, WP doubled their lead when Marais goaled another penalty from the Sharks’ 10m line (6-0).

Straight from the second-half kick-off, the Sharks produced a penetrative move into the WP 22m area and then went through several phases before hooker Akker van der Merwe barged over. Sharks flyhalf Robert du Preez goaled after referee Jaco Peyper afforded him a  second attempt at the conversion (7-6).

Three minutes later, WP regained the lead after the Sharks were guilty of dangerous play. Marais made no mistake from the kicking tee (9-7).

But with play toing and froing from one end to the other, the lead changed hands just two minutes later when Du Preez was on target from in front of the WP posts (10-9).

Just passed the hour mark Sharks fullback Curwin Bosch tried a long-range penalty from close to the halfway line, but was just wide of the target.

With some 12 minutes playing time left, both WP and the Sharks produced some fine breaks but it was the latter who made what would prove to be the match-winning break when flank Tyler Paul scored a converted try (17-9).

Marais was on target soon afterwards with his fourth penalty and for a moment it raised hopes of saving the game.

But as it turned out, WP ran out of time and the Sharks held out for a five-point win at 17-12.

Scorers: Western Province 12 (6): Penalties: SP Marais (4)

Sharks 17 (0): Tries: Akker van der Merwe, Paul Tyler. Conversions: Robert du Preez (2). Penalty: Du Preez (ANA)