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Currie Cup Final
Blue Bulls v Sharks - Match Facts
Scrum.com
October 24, 2008
Rory Duncan of the Free State Cheetahs lifts the trophy during the Absa Currie Cup Final match between Vodacom Free State Cheetahs and Golden Lions held at Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein, South Africa on October 27, 2007 .
The Cheetahs' Rory Duncan lifts the Currie Cup last year © Getty Images
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Check out some match facts ahead of this year's Currie Cup Final

+ As a player, Sharks coach John Plumtree appeared in two successful Currie Cup titles; in 1990 and 1996. In the '96 Final, he replaced Wickus van Heerden on the side of the Sharks scrum, the uncle of Blue Bulls star Wikus van Heerden, who will start in the No.7 jersey for the Pretoria-based team this Saturday.

+ Van Heerden, who will leave the Bulls for English club Saracens after the weekend, has played in an Currie Cup Final before; for the Lions in 2002. The Lions coach that day was none other than current Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke. Sharks centre Brad Barritt - who is on the bench this weekend - will also be joining Van Heerden at Saracens at the conclusion of the 2008 Absa Currie Cup.

+ Fourteen Blue Bulls players (out of their 22-man matchday squad) have previous Currie Cup Final experience, whilst just four Sharks players have been involved in Currie Cup Finals before this weekend. The Sharks do, however, have an ace up their sleeves in the form of Frenchman Frederic Michalak, who has played in, and won, Heineken Cup and French finals for Toulouse.

+ Western Province might not have qualified for the 2008 Currie Cup play-offs, but they still boast the most titles since the tournament's inception in 1889. WP have won 32 titles (four shared), followed by the Bulls (22 - four shared), the Lions (nine - one shared), the Sharks (four), Free State (four - one shared), Griquas (three) and Border (two - both shared).

+ This will be the 48th Currie Cup Final since the advent of finals in this tournament in 1939. The Bulls have played 29 finals before now, with the Sharks set to make their 10th appearance in a Currie Cup Final. The Bulls have won 22 out of those 29 finals, with the Sharks winning four out of 10.

+ Theuns Stofberg is the only player to have won the 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 Currie Cup Finals for three different Provinces - Transvaal, Natal and WP - but he never won a title with Transvaal.

+ Bok prop Jannie du Plessis has an Currie Cup winners' medal from last year with the Cheetahs. This will be his fourth successive Currie Cup Final, having also played in the 2005 and 2006 finals. Jannie will play alongside his brother Bismarck this weekend, joining other Currie Cup Final brothers: Eben and Joggie Jansen (Free State); Naas and Darius Botha (Northern Transvaal); Willie, Michael and Carel du Plessis (WP); Chris and Pieter Rossouw (WP); and Geo and Jacques Cronje (Blue Bulls).

+ Northern Transvaal/the Blue Bulls have won the Currie Cup in 1968, 1978, 1988 and in 1998. Can they repeat it in 2008?

+ No player has ever scored more than two tries in an Currie Cup Final. Buddy Swartz was the first to score two tries in a final - in 1970 for Griquas against Northern Transvaal. Edrich Krantz scored two for N-Tvl v WP in 1980. Andre Venter for Free State v Transvaal in 1994, Thinus Delport for the Lions v Sharks in 1999, Breyton Paulse for WP v Sharks in 2000 and the late Ettienne Botha did it twice; v the Sharks in 2003 and against the FS Cheetahs in 2004.

+ Jonathan Kaplan will referee the 2008 Currie Cup Final, his fourth appointment to officiate in South Africa's Premier Domestic competition. Andre Watson - who has refereed two World Cup Finals - has reffed seven Currie Cup Finals, followed by Steve Strydom (six) and then Freek Burger (five).

Courtesy of SARugby.net

Finals between the Blue Bulls and Sharks

The Blue Bulls and the Sharks have only contested the Currie Cup final against each on three previous occasions. The Bulls have won two of these finals but in 1990 the team from Durban lifted the trophy for the first time in history when the beat the Bulls 18-12 at Loftus Versfeld.

The results were as follows:

1956 - Northern Transvaal 9 Natal 8 (Durban) 1990 - Natal 18 Northern Transvaal 12 (Pretoria) 2003 - Blue Bulls 40 Sharks 19 (Pretoria)

Recent Currie Cup Results

The Sharks have beaten the Blue Bulls in five of their last seven matches but they have stumbled over the last hurdle in 1999, 2000, 2001 as well as in 2003 and they have only won the Currie Cup on only four occasions - in 1990, 1992, 1995 and 1996.

2008
Sharks won 34-25 (Durban)
Blue Bulls won 35-14 (Pretoria)

2007
Sharks won 29-10 (Durban)
Sharks won 26-18 (Pretoria)

2006
Sharks won 37-28 (Pretoria)
Blue Bulls won 50-32 (Durban)

2005
Sharks won 18-14 (Pretoria)

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