But first at the SAN SIRO.I dont hate Milan.I alays admired them.For Juve we havent won at the San Siro in many years.So it was special. Many Rossoneri fans say that they didnt deserve to lose but this win for Juve throws the Serie A open. Lazio are surprise leaders. Juve took a two goal lead through Fabio Quagliarelia and then the Bianconeri Golden boy who is still rolling back the years. Alessandro Del Piero became the all time top scorer for Juventus in Serie A.He is a Juventus legend. Ibrahimovic got one back but an injury plagued Juve won the battle at the San Siro. Fantastic result.Lets just hope the consistency remains now. Eleswhere in Serie A Inter beat Genoa 1-0 whilst Roma also were victorious
In LA LIGA we are all awaiting the EL CLASSICO with baited breath.Barcelona and Real are in awesome form. Messi and Ronaldo are in awesome form. Both won again this weekend. I cant wait.
In the EPL Arsenal left it late with Song,Chelsea left it late with Ibanovic,Liverpool left it late with Maxi Rodrigues and the MANCS were impressive in beating Tottenham 2-0. Everybody won. So Everybodys happy
THE SHARKS WIN THE CURRIE CUP
My cuzzies in Durbz were loving the vibe. Durban was rocking when the Sharks won and being the Big rugby fans that they are i was liasing with them bia Blackberry. All they said was that it was too good and they were excited to taste the victory.Some pics coming soon
Emotion, hunger key to Sharks fairytale
Listening to the Sharks talking about the Absa Currie Cup final and the day or two that preceded it, it is easy to understand why Western Province were made to look the less hungry of the two protagonists in an excellent final that was a great advertisement for South African rugby.
The competition has seen some memorable moments and much drama down the years, but it is unlikely that there has been quite as much emotion and internal motivation in a team than what the Sharks took onto the field with them for the domestic season decider.
It was not just because the Sharks, who really do love to be underdogs, felt that the rest of the country was writing them off, that pushed them to a steely single-minded focus.
The death of New Zealand born former DHS Old Boys, Crusaders and Natal fringe player John Mudgeway after a long illness on the Friday before the match would have had a massive impact on the team.
Both coach John Plumtree and assistant coach Grant Bashford were very close to Mudgeway, and they sat with him for an hour and a half as he died on the eve of the final.
“I don’t like to be personal and bring personal things into it, but Mudgy was a great friend to both myself and Bashy, and the team all knew him and played a couple of games for him down the years,” said Plumtree.
“It was a heck of a thing to be with him as he died, it was a really emotional time, and of course it made us even more determined to win it for him. It also put a lot of things into perspective for us. It is only a game after all.”
In comparison to a death of a friend, a player’s last game for a team is a matter of far less gravitas, but the fact it was going to be popular Andries Strauss’ last game for the Sharks before moving to the Cheetahs also added to the emotion of the occasion.
Strauss was released some months back when he wasn’t in form, but he has hit top form now, was outstanding in the final, and Plumtree admits that if he could and it was possible to change an earlier decision, he would keep Strauss with the Sharks.
“Andries was really emotional and determined in the changeroom before the game and he asked us all to imagine how we would feel and how we would play if it was our last game for the Sharks,” said skipper Stefan Terblanche for whom it was third time lucky in a final against WP after losing in 2000 and 2001.
YOUNGSTERS CAME THROUGH
Strauss was one of several young players whose form, drive and composure ensured that the bigger names in the opposition line-up were unable to exert the influence and attain the dominance they needed if the long Currie Cup drought for WP was to be broken.
Of course, top of the class was flyhalf Patrick Lambie, who deservedly earned Springbok recognition after a performance which capped a season which thoroughly vindicated Plumtree’s contention during the build-up week that there was no issue with the inexperience of the youngsters.
Lambie scored two tries and out-kicked the highly regarded WP place-kicker Willem de Waal, and he and scrumhalf Charl McLeod also varied their play cleverly, with the little chips behind the WP defensive line playing a bit part in this Sharks win.
And none of the kicks was more important than the one that Lwazi Mvovo gathered early in the game off McLeod to send the same player in for a first try that rattled Province.
WP had spoken a lot in the two weeks between the semifinal and final about the need to make up for the mistake they made in the Super 14 final by starting the game quickly – and maybe in retrospect they made too much of it.
When they suddenly found themselves down 10-3 to what was a soft try, WP looked rattled, perhaps more than they should have been.
In losing some of their composure they started to make mistakes, and it was a defensive error that let Lambie in for his first try as the Sharks exploited the shifting WP defence by running straight.
That try meant that the Sharks were 17-3 ahead after fewer minutes. It was the Super 14 final all over again and it was game over.
WP might have fought their way back were it not for some inexplicably poor captaincy in the second half.
Province scored just before halftime and were behind by 13 points going into the last 40 minutes, but the way they rushed their game, and refused to take kicks at goal, suggested they thought they were 33 points behind.
Certainly it would have made far more sense for to chip away at the lead in small increments by kicking the numerous kickable penalties they were awarded.
Had they just kicked two of those penalties it would have brought them to within range at 23-16, and the Sharks management later admitted that then it might have been a different game as their defensive line would have faced additional pressure.
It was incredibly naive, and although Schalk Burger defended himself afterwards by saying it was the right thing to do, there would not have been many who would have agreed with him.
This was surely an occasion where WP chief professional coach Rassie Erasmus, who has won two Currie Cup finals, should have been lending his experience and advice through the radio/walkie-talkie, but for some inexplicable reason the WP management decided before the semifinal to remove Erasmus from radio contact with the team/coaches during matches.
So instead of dispensing his vast tactical knowledge, Erasmus, who played a big part in getting the systems in place that saw both WP age-group teams win their competitions, watched the main game of the day as a spectator only.
On a day when WP played much dumb rugby, the decision to exclude Erasmus, whoever took it, was a grave and significant error that may well have cost WP the Currie Cup trophy.