Sharks want to come full circle
Having surpised themselves by opening their campaign with a victory over Western Province the Sharks want to end the Currie Cup in the same way.
Having surpised themselves by opening their campaign with a victory over Western Province the Sharks are hoping to end the Currie Cup in the same way.
Coming hot on the heels of an exhausting travel schedule in the Super Rugby play-offs, the Durban side were not exactly bursting with confidence ahead of their opening Currie Cup fixture at Newlands this year, but they took their opportunities well to rub salt into the wounds of Allister Coetzee's team who they had knocked out of the Super Rugby race just a few weeks before.
Sharks assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards admitted that the confidence gained from that victory gave the younger players in the squad vital self-belief which they harnessed well to top the standings.
"At the start, we looked at this campaign to see what we had, to assess who would stand up and raise their hands for Super Rugby inclusion, but when we were pleasantly surprised when we went down to Newlands and beat Province in the opening game.
"It provided the guys with a lot of belief and they accepted their responsibilities going forward. And that's been the big thing, the way the guys have embraced the responsibility and performed week in and week out, to the point where we now host a final," he said.
After their back-up players had got them into a position of strength the next key for the Sharks was the way their returning Springboks were phased into the side gradually, which meant that they did not lose any of their momentum heading into the play-offs.
"This side has started to gel and the way the Springboks have been reintroduced has been balanced very well.
"We haven't lost the enthusiasm of the guys who have done the bulk of the job in getting us here, and the Boks coming in have really wanted to be involved," he said.
The Sharks will relish the opportunity to play a final at home after suffering away defeats in last year's Currie Cup Final and this year's Super Rugby Final, but Reece-Edwards pointed out that one of the biggest positives of this campaign has been the encouraging depth that has been unearthed which bodes well for an even brighter future.
"The squad has really showed what they are made of and looking forward, that's a huge attribute for us, that a lot of the guys put their hands up for next year and that's really positive," he said.