Odwa Ndugane of the Sharks runs with the ball.

Which team will be crowned the 2017 Currie Cup champions?

Don’t miss The Sharks and Western Province fighting it out to be crowned 2017 Currie Cup champions live from Kings Park in Durban on Saturday 28 October.

The fans predicted it and the form guide for the most part suggested it.

The top two finishers on the Currie Cup Premier Division qualifying log will lock horns in the final of one of the oldest domestic rugby competitions at Kings Park on Saturday afternoon (Kick-off 16:00).

Tune in for the live action from Durban on Saturday 28 October 15:00 on SS1 (DStv Channel 201 streaming live on DStv Now). Highlights on DStv Catch Up later.

Despite being overshadowed at times by Super Rugby, the golden beaker still remains the most sought-after trophy in South African rugby and is often referred to as SA’s ‘domestic jewel’.

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to pin the favourite tag on the Sharks’ black and white jersey based on consistency in the run-up and the luxury of home ground advantage.

Barring an early slip-up against the Cheetahs, a few narrow escapes and a defeat by Province in their final league clash after they had already sealed a semi-final spot, the KwaZulu-Natal side enjoyed a trouble-free march to their first final in four years.

Province, by contrast, lost five matches in the league phase and until a last gasp 46-45 win over the Blue Bulls at Loftus at the beginning of October, looked like they couldn’t buy an away win.

The men in the striped blue jumpers have appeared in five of the last seven Currie Cup deciders (two victories) and the Sharks in four – all consecutive between 2010 and 2013 – with two wins.

Now a new generation of players and prospective future heroes has emerged and there are very few survivors from more recent battles between the two provincial rivals.

Potential Game-Changers:

Sharks: Lukhanyo Am, S’busiso Nkosi (subject to fitness) Curwin Bosch, Jean-Luc du Preez, Keegan Daniel, Thomas du Toit, Supersub - Akker van der Merwe.

Western Province: Dillyn Leyds, EW Viljoen (subject to fitness), Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Robert du Preez, Nizaam Carr, Jaco Coetzee (subject to fitness), Wilco Louw. Supersub - Werner Kok

The Road to the Final:

Sharks: 21 Jul – FS Cheetahs 47 Sharks 12, 29 Jul – Sharks 29 Pumas 0, 04 Aug – Sharks 41 Griquas 3, 09 Aug – B Bulls 20 Sharks 28, 12 Aug – G Lions 31 Sharks 47, 26 Aug – W Province 20 Sharks 21, 02 Sept – Sharks 45 FS Cheetahs 15, 08 Sept – Pumas 25 Sharks 27, 15 Sept – Griquas 22 Sharks 40, 23 Sept – Sharks 18 B Bulls 5, 29 Sept – Sharks 24 G Lions 10, 14 Oct – Sharks 20 W Province 31, 21 Oct (S/Final) – Sharks 37 B Bulls 37.

W Province: 30 July – FS Cheetahs 30 W Province 17, 04 Aug – W Province 34 Pumas 19, 09 Aug – Griquas 44 W Province 34, 12 Aug – W Province 45 B Bulls 34. 18 Aug – W Province 39 G Lions 3, 26 Aug – W Province 20 Sharks 21, 09 Sept – W Province 57 FS Cheetahs 14, 15 Sept – Pumas 22 W Province 12, 23 Sept – W Province 55 Griquas 27, 01 Oct – B Bulls 45 W Province 46, 08 Oct – G Lions 29 W Province 20. 14 Oct – Sharks 20 W Province 31, 21 Oct (S/Final) – W Province 19 G Lions 5.

Currie Cup Winners (Last seven years):

2016 – FS Cheetahs 36 B Bulls 16

2015 – G Lions 32 W Province 24

2014 – W Province 19 G Lions 16

2013 – Sharks 33 W Province 19

2012 – W Province 25 Sharks 18

2011 – G Lions 42 Sharks 16

2010 – Sharks 30 W Province 10

Overall Wins (Currie Cup Final):

W Province: 33, 4 shared

Sharks (Natal): 7.

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By Trevor Cramer