It says a lot about the character of this team
Western Province coach Allister Coetzee believes that the defining feature of his team's Currie Cup victory was their character under pressure.
The Cape side went into the final at Kings Park as underdogs against a Bok-laden Sharks team that had not lost a game at home all season, but fought hard to secure their first Currie Cup title in 11 years with a 25-18 victory.
Outside centre Juan de Jongh scored the only try of the match just before half-time, but perhaps more impressive was the defensive commitment that Province showed which saw them grow in confidence as the game progressed.
Two second-half drop-goals from flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis proved decisive, but Coetzee was quick to point to the collective character of the entire team as the biggest contributor to the tense victory.
"It has been a hard, long slog but there is one thing about this Province side - we perservered and we never stopped knocking on the door," he said.
The Province mentor, whose team was knocked out of Super Rugby by the Sharks in a home semifinal, said that he feels for the Sharks who have now lost the last two finals.
"We know how the Sharks feel at this point in time, we have been knocked out in semifinals and finals but we stuck to our guns. We knew we had to do what we do all the time and sometimes it is going to tip over to the right side," he said.
Coetzee paid tribute to the team culture which he believes was central to their committed performance under pressure.
"We have done the right things on and off the field and without all of our so-called big-name players it says a lot about the character of this team.
"That is what is so good about this side, the balance within the structures - it is so conducive to a tight-knit family.
"We talk about family all the time but it is one thing to talk about it and another thing to live it," he said.