Saturday’s Currie Cup final between the Sharks and Western Province at Kings Park is no ordinary game.
That is the view of WP captain Chris van Zyl, who says that significant time was spent this week preparing the players, particularly the young ones, for the mental test that comes with playing in a Cup final.
Both sides are fielding a number of youngsters who will be playing in their first major final, and Van Zyl reckons that preparing them for Saturday has been important.
“It’s definitely nice to draw on the experience of guys who have been there before,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s paramount, but it helps for them to give guidance to some of the younger players and offer some insight.
“It’s definitely not a normal game. We’ve done a couple of things this week to ensure that the guys are very aware that it isn’t a normal game and they must be ready for something special.”
But while the pressure will be turned up come 16:00, Van Zyl has also urged his players to make the most of the occasion.
“It’s important to enjoy it. It is a final and it is away, but it’s an experience that a lot of people would give their right arm for and we said that at the beginning of the week,” he said.
“You must make sure that you enjoy the experience, first and foremost, because it doesn’t come around often.”
Province will be buoyed by the fact that, two weekends ago, they beat the Sharks in Durban in the final round of group fixtures.
Saturday’s final will be a different matter entirely, but the belief is clearly there from a WP perspective.
“We are not going there to take part in a final. We truly believe we can do this and we’re hungry and want to go bring back the cup,” Van Zyl said.
15 Garth April, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit
Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Tristan Blewett, 23 Rhyno Smith
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Kobus van Dyk, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Werner Kok, 23 Dan Kriel