The Cell C Sharks players hardly need motivating or inspiration ahead of Saturday’s Currie Cup Final against DHL Western Province at Newlands in Cape Town, the event is inspiring enough.
“It’s a Currie Cup Final, if that’s not enough motivation, then you’re not where you’re supposed to be,” Cell C Sharks win Sbu Nkosi admits of the enormity of the occasion that lies ahead. Referring to last week’s Man of the Match performance, he admits that, “Playing at JONSSON KINGS PARK is a huge honour for me, I love playing for the Cell C Sharks. I won’t lie, I slept with a smile on my face on Saturday night.”
The Cell C Sharks will go into this final having seen off the challenge from the Golden Lions in last weekend’s Currie Cup semi-final at JONSSON KINGS PARK, a tough match which required every ounce of character and determination to pull through for the win. All of which provides the necessary test.
“It was a silly mistake from us [the intercept try] and the momentum shifted to their side in the second half, but we managed to pull away late in the game when things swung back in our favour,” Nkosi explains.
“It was a great way to win a semi-final because it was good preparation for the final. Having all that pressure and showing the composure to seal the win at the end is the kind of thing we’ll need if we want to win the competition.”
“Finals are tough, especially in terms of free space, because there isn’t much of it to be found. So having a tight semi-final like we did prepares us well for the final against Western Province, because we’ll be faced with the same scenarios.”
Although one would expect the excitement levels in the Cell C Sharks camp to be on a high, given the occasion that lies ahead and the rewards on offer, the dreadlocked wing admits that this is no different to any week.
“This is the atmosphere the whole time,” he says with a laugh. “This place is electric, there is a real vibe, a brotherhood going on here, so there’s nothing different here now, even though we are playing in the final this weekend. The energy might be a bit higher, because this is the last game of the season, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary, the vibe is always electric.”
Situations are reversed in 2018 after the Cell C Sharks hosted Western Province in the final after finishing top of the log in 2017. This year after it was Western Province’s turn to finish the season on top of the log and host the final. What lessons, if any have the Cell C Sharks taken out of last year’s season finale at JONSSON KINGS PARK?
“It’s a different year, a different final and a different team,” he explains of the fact that nothing that happened in the past can influence this Saturday’s result. “There’s nothing to read into last year.”
In saying that, lessons from recent past have been taken on board, specifically the Cell C Sharks’ loss to Province in the pool stages.
“We’re in a completely different space now. We’re comfortable with the shape we’re playing, we’re better with the decision-making, especially with regards to ball retention. So if we can build phases, we will inevitably build momentum which will help to build a good innings against Western Province.”
Winning the Currie Cup final wouldn’t only be about joy and happiness, but the far-reaching implications for more than just the team.
“Winning would prove that we’re on the right track,” he explains. “It’s been five years since we last won the Currie Cup, so it would be good reward for everyone who has put in the hard work to make sure this Union remains one of the best brands in South Africa. It would also be great reward for the people working behind the scenes if we could bring the Currie Cup back to Durban.
“It would also uplift and be an acknowledgement tothe Sharks’ faithful who support us week in and week out.”
There is huge belief in the side and with a look of determination, he adds, “I will do whatever is necessary, and whatever I can do, to make sure that when we fly back to Durban, on Sunday the trophy is with us on the plane.”