As the dust settles on the 2012 Super XV, South Africans and specifically Western Province and her supporters turn their attention to the CURRIE CUP.
Why WP? It has been 20 years since “arguably” the most successful union had their hands on the cherished trophy. Alistair Coetzee has already stated that WP has put the Super XV behind them and they are looking ahead to the Currie Cup (http://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Coetzee-Super-15-forgotten-20120806) with an eye on the 2013 Super XV (http://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Coetzee-WP-building-for-S15-20120807).
For starters, we are reminded about their rich talent. So rich that other unions snap up un-contracted players. The WP side has lost 6 players to the Springboks and Peter Grant is off to Japan. There are also a number of injured players on the comeback which will strengthen the side.
For the past 10 years the WP fan has seen their side struggle to make finals and claim a major trophy. Year after year, the WP fan is told about how well prepared the men from the cape are. Yet they have only managed 2 finals in 10 years and lost both. The WP fan will without doubt tell you that they (WP) will win the Currie Cup Well, for the last 10 years this has been the case. (As this is being written WP have already been tipped as favourites at 2/1 favourites). The WP fan is loyal to the end.
The obsession to reclaim the trophy increases with every failed tournament. WP fans have started to turn to the history books to see how great their side once was.
The fact that WP fans state that Super XV Conference Cup is worth something is evidence that the pain of not winning a major trophy in the last 10 years bothers them. The failure to qualify for the Super XV 15 final was evident on all the players’ faces. The need to win Currie Cup title is weighing heavily the Western Cape side. There are some great players that have won Tri Nations Titles and a World Cup Title.
There is no doubt that the WP side has the ability to top a log but its winning the crucial one off games where they struggle. WP/Stormers playoff statistics for the last 5 tournaments read as follows played 6 won 2 lost 4 (with no title). Yet every year WP fans believe they are the favorites.
The Currie Cup has been cut from 8 to 6 sides. Strength versus Strength. This is only going to make winning the title even harder. One loss, and a side will be on the back foot from week 1.
WP has the players, they have infrastructure and they have the loyal fans so why have they not won world’s oldest domestic rugby competition in 20 years? Winning a Currie cup seems to be as difficult as winning the World Cup.
Winners Since 2000
2000 Western Province 25 – 15 Natal Sharks ABSA Stadium
2001 Western Province 29 – 24 Natal Sharks Newlands
2002 Blue Bulls 31 – 7 Golden Lions Ellis Park
2003 Blue Bulls 40 – 19 Natal Sharks Loftus Versfeld
2004 Blue Bulls 42 – 33 Cheetahs Loftus Versfeld
2005 Cheetahs 29 – 25 Blue Bulls Loftus Versfeld
2006 Cheetahs 28 – 28 Blue Bulls Free State Stadium
2007 Cheetahs 20 – 18 Golden Lions Free State Stadium
2008 Natal Sharks 14 – 9 Blue Bulls ABSA Stadium
2009 Blue Bulls 36 – 24 Cheetahs Loftus Versfeld
2010 Natal Sharks 30 – 10 Western Province ABSA Stadium
2011 Golden Lions 42 – 16 Natal Sharks Coca Cola Park
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