Currie Cup Final Preview - The Facts
• This will be the 50th Absa Currie Cup Final since the advent of finals in this competition in 1939. The Sharks have played in 12 finals before, while Vodacom Western Province will make their 22nd appearance in an Absa Currie Cup Final. The Durban side have won five titles from those finals, with the Cape team winning 12 out of 21 (which includes two shared titles).

• The Sharks and Vodacom Western Province have competed against each other in three Absa Currie Cup Finals, the most recent being in 2001. The Durban side were victorious in one final (1995) while Province have won two finals (2000 & 2001).

• Thirteen Sharks players (from their expected match day 22) have previous Absa Currie Cup Final experience. Only four Vodacom Western Province players in their expected match day 22 have been involved in an Absa Currie Cup Final before this weekend.

• Fifteen of the Vodacom WP players selected for Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup Final were part of the Vodacom Stormers team that conceded a 25-17 defeat against the Vodacom Bulls in this year’s Vodacom Super 14 Final played at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

• Eleven players in The Sharks’ expected squad for this Absa Currie Cup Final have tasted victory in a final before. boasts a total of 13 Absa Currie Cup winner medals, while three players with Vodacom Western Province have been on the winning side in a final – incidentally all of them for other provinces.

• Prop Jannie du Plessis have four winning medals (three for the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and one for The Sharks in 2008). In the Vodacom WP side, flyhalf Willem de Waal has three (all for the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs in 2005, 2006 and 2007), while winger Bryan Habana (Vodacom Blue Bulls in 2009) and No 8 Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Free State Cheetahs in 2007) have one each.

• Jannie du Plessis will be the most experienced Sharks player in terms of finals played (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008). Stefan Terblanche, who is the only survivor of the 2000 and 2001 finals, will be playing in his fourth Absa Currie Cup Final. He played centre in 2000, left-wing in 2001 and fullback for the Durban side during the 2008 final against the Vodacom Blue Bulls.

• De Waal will be playing in his fifth Absa Currie Cup Final after representing the Vodacom Free Cheetahs in the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 finals. Habana will be playing in his fourth (2005, 2008 and 2009 for the Vodacom Blue Bulls).

• This Absa Currie Cup Final will be Andries Strauss’ (The Sharks) and De Waal’s (Vodacom WP) last match for their respective teams. Strauss will be going back to the Free State, where he grew up and started his career while Province’s pivot is set to continue his rugby in Italy next year.

• De Waal is the leading points’ scorer (215) in the 2010 Absa Currie Cup competition. The flyhalf converted 34 tries and also kicked 49 penalties. He was also the top points-scorer in Absa Currie Cup in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. The Sharks utility back Patrick Lambie is the second leading points’ scorer this season with 180 points (three tries, 33 conversions and 30 penalties).

• The Sharks have scored the most tries (63) in the 2010 Absa Currie Cup and have also added the second most points by any team (508) this season. The Cape Town side have scored 62 tries (second place) and scored the most points (551) in 2010.

• Sharks winger Lwazi Mvovo (The Sharks) is second on the list of leading try-scorers this season with 12 tries. Other leading try-scorers who are likely to appear in the final are Gio Aplon (WP) who is third on the list with nine tries, Keegan Daniel (Sharks), who has scored eight and is fourth, as well as Odwa Ndungane (Sharks) with seven tries (fifth).

• Theuns Stofberg is the only player to have won the Absa Currie Cup with three different provinces. He won titles with Free State (1976), Northern Transvaal (1979 and 1980) and Western Province (1982 and 1983). Former Springbok winger James Small is the only other player to have played in three Absa Currie Cup Finals for three different provinces – Transvaal, Natal and WP – but he never won a title with Transvaal.

• No player has ever scored more than two tries in an Absa Currie Cup Final. Buddy Swartz was the first to score a brace in a final – in 1970 for Griquas against Northern Transvaal. Edrich Krantz scored two Northern Transvaal against Western Province in 1980. Andre Venter added two for Free State in the 1994 final against Transvaal, Thinus Delport for the Golden Lions against the Sharks in 1999, Breyton Paulse for WP in their 2000 final victory over the Sharks and the late Ettienne Botha did it twice – in the 2003 final against the Sharks and in 2004 during the Absa Currie Cup final against the Free State Cheetahs. Bryan Habana scored two for the Vodacom Blue Bulls against the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs in last year’s final.

• Only four players in history have scored tries in finals for two different teams. Otto van Niekerk scored two tries for Transvaal in the 1939 final against WP and one for Province in the 1947 final against Transvaal. Edrich Krantz scored one try for Free State in the 1976 final against Western Province and two tries for Northern Transvaal against WP in the 1980 final. Gerbrand Grobler, the only player in history to represent his province in a Currie Cup final in rugby and cricket, scored a try for Northern Transvaal in 1990 against Natal and a try for Transvaal against Free State in 1994. AJ Venter scored a try for the Golden Lions in the 1999 final against The Sharks and a try for the Durban side in the 2003 final against the Blue Bulls. Habana can become the fifth player to achieve this feat.

• Craig Joubert, who refereed the Vodacom Super 14 final earlier this year, will take charge of the 2010 Absa Currie Cup Final for the first time in his career.

• Andre Watson, who refereed two IRB Rugby World Cup Finals, has refereed in seven Absa Currie Cup Finals followed by Steve Strydom (six), Freek Burger (five) and Jonathan Kaplan (five). Tappe Henning was the referee in the 1995 final between The Sharks and WP while Watson was in charge of the 2000 and 2001 finals between these two teams.

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Absa Currie Cup Season (2010):
The Sharks’ recent form at The Absa Stadium Durban:
• The hosts have not lost at home this season. They beat the Vodacom Blue Bulls (16-12 in the semi-final), Platinum Leopards (63-6), Vodacom Free State Cheetahs (30-16), GWK Griquas (48-30), Vodacom Western Province (27-16), Xerox Lions (48-19), Vodacom Blue Bulls (34-28) and the Barloworld Toyota Pumas (27-17).
• The Sharks lost twice in Durban in 2009 – against Vodacom Western Province and the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs (semi-final).
Vodacom Western Province’s recent form on the road:
• The Cape side secured four victories on the road during this season’s competition – against the Barloworld Toyota Pumas (62-10), GWK Griquas (50-3), Vodacom Free State Cheetahs (25-11) and against the Platinum Leopards (42-23).
• The visitors conceded three away defeats – against the Vodacom Blue Bulls (36-32) in Pretoria, The Sharks (27-16) in Durban and the Xerox Lions (46-28) in Johannesburg.
• Vodacom WP achieved three away victories, against the Boland Kavaliers, Platinum Leopards and The Sharks, in last year’s Absa Currie Cup.
Absa Currie Cup Finals Stats:

Most points’ scored in an Absa Currie Cup final:
26 - Derick Hougaard, Blue Bulls vs Lions 2002 (1 try, 2 drop goals, 5 pen)
24 - Naas Botha, Blue Bulls vs Golden Lions 1987 (4 drop goals, 4 penalties)
24 - Braam van Straaten, Western Province vs Sharks 2001 (1 try, 2 con, 5 pen)
21 - Gavin Johnson, Golden Lions vs Free State 1994 (6 conversions, 3 penalties)
21 - Morné Steyn, Blue Bulls vs Cheetahs 2009 (3 con, 4 pen, 1 drop goal)
20 - Thierry Lacroix , Natal vs Western Province 1995 (6 penalties, 1 conversion)
19 - Naas Botha, Blue Bulls vs WP 1980 (2 con, 3 pen, 2 drop goals)
19 - Willem de Waal, Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls 2005 (5 penalties, 2 conversions)
18 - De Wet Ras, Free State vs WP 1976 (3 con, 3 pen, drop goal)
18 - Henry Honiball, Natal vs Gauteng Lions 1996 (3 conversions, 4 penalties)
17 - Gerald Bosch, Golden Lions vs Falcons 1972 (1 con, 2 pen, 3 drop goals)
Most successful Absa Currie Cup coaches:
Brig. Buurman van Zyl, Blue Bulls - 9 wins & 2 draws; 1968-1981
Dawie Snyman, Western Province - 5 consecutive wins; 1982-1986
Ian McIntosh, Natal - 4 wins; 1990-1996
Heyneke Meyer, Blue Bulls - 3 consecutive wins and 1 draw; 2002-2006
Youngest winning Absa Currie Cup Coaches: 32 years 351 days - Rassie Erasmus (5/11/1972), Free State Cheetahs on 22/10/2005
33 years 89 days - Dawie Snyman (5/7/1949), Western Province on 2/10/1982
Most finals as a referee: 7 - André Watson (Falcons/Saru)
6 - Steve Strydom (Free State)
5 - Freek Burger (WP), Jonathan Kaplan (SARU)
3 - Jimmy Smith-Belton (EP), Gert Bezuidenhout (Tvl)

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