|Full name||KwaZulu-Natal Sharks|
|Union||KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union|
|Region||Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa|
|Ground(s)||Growthpoint Kings Park (Capacity: 52,000)|
|Director of Rugby||Brendan Venter|
|Coach(es)||Brad McLeod-Henderson (forwards)
Sean Everitt (backs)
|League(s)||Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup|
|2013 Currie Cup Premier Division||Champions|
The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks is a South African rugby union team that participates in the annual Currie Cup tournament. The Sharks' home stadium is Kings Park. They draw most of their players from the KwaZulu-Natal Province. The Sharks are the current representative team of the Natal Rugby Union, founded in 1890. The team was known simply as 'The Banana Boys' until the mid-1990s.
The Sharks of the Super Rugby competition are basically the same team - they also play in Durban and draw their players from the KwaZulu-Natal area. For most of Super Rugby history, the Sharks Super Rugby franchise drew players from a larger area than did the Natal Sharks, with the rugby unions of Border, based in East London and Eastern Province from Port Elizabeth included in the Sharks franchise.
- 1 History
- 2 The Sharks Brand
- 3 KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union
- 4 The Natal Duikers and the Wildebeest
- 5 The Natal Sharks Academy
- 6 The Natal Sharks Region
- 7 Current squad
- 8 Natal Springboks (past and present)
- 9 Finals results
- 10 External links
The Natal Rugby Union was founded in 1890. Natal made their first Currie Cup final appearance in the 1956 season, where they met Northern Transvaal at home, Kings Park Stadium in Durban. Natal went down by just a single point, with Northern Transvaal winning the match 9-8.
Natal made the final again in the 1984 season, when they met Western Province at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town. Natal lost the match nineteen points to nine. Natal met 1956 final opponents, Northern Transvaal, in the legendary 1990 final in Pretoria, though this time, Natal won the contest, claiming their first ever Currie Cup, with the final score being 18 points to 12. Natal won the match with Tony Watson's famous '9 point try'. With score at 12-9, Right Winger Tony Watson touched down to make it 13-12 in Natal's favour, but he was fouled upon scoring. Stransky converted to give Natal a 3-point lead, and his successful subsequent penalty gave Natal the six point lead which they held until the final whistle. The victorious side were captained by scrumhalf Craig Jamieson, who led the team on a ticker-tape parade through central Durban later in the week. The victory was especially poignant for being both Natal's first, and for occurring in the Union's Centenary year.
Natal was again in the finals only two seasons after their 1990 victory. They won their second Currie Cup title, defeating Transvaal by a single point, winning 14-13 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. This was another important victory, because it confirmed that Natal were consistently good performers, and not just one-hit wonders. The Sharks' success in the 1990s continued, with the team making it to the following season's final as well, though they were not able to win back-to-back titles, going down to Transvaal 21-15 at home.
Natal provided virtually all the players who participated in the Sharks squads of the 1990s in first the Super 10 competition, and later, the Super 12. Durban-based players continue to provide the bulk of the current Super Rugby squad. Natal and the Sharks performed inconsistently in the early years of the Southern Hemisphere competition, but earned the respect of Antipodean clubs and reached the final of the second Super 10 competition in 1994. The team developed a particularly intense rivalry with the Auckland Blues, and Sharks vs. Blues contests are usually one of the highlights of Super rugby. The team also particularly enjoys defeating Brisbane's Queensland Reds, mostly due to a rivalry that dates back to the 1994 Super 10 final, won by Queensland, and the fact that Durban and Brisbane are considered by many to be 'twin cities', sharing a similar climate, population size, and relaxed, seaside atmosphere. Natal reached the final of the 1996 Super 12 competition where they lost to Auckland, and the Sharks reached the 2001 final where they lost to the Brumbies.
The Natal Sharks continued to feature in the 1990s and won more Currie Cup titles than any other team in the same period. Natal won the 1995 Currie Cup, defeating Western Province 25-17 at home and then defeating the Golden Lions in the 1996 decider, 33-15 at Ellis Park, their first back-to-back title. They made one other final appearance during the decade, against 1996 finalists, the Golden Lions, who defeated the Sharks 32-9 in Durban.
Following the 1999 final loss to the Golden Lions, the Sharks again made it to the final in 2000, but again lost, this time to Western Province in Durban 25-15. They faced Western Province again in the 2001 final in Cape Town, and again they lost 29-24. The Sharks did not feature in the 2002 final, but faced the Blue Bulls in the 2003 final, who defeated them 40-19 in Pretoria. The Sharks made it to the first-ever all-South African final of the Super 14 2007, losing narrowly to fellow South Africans The Blue Bulls 20-19. They were finally able to avenge these defeats by beating the Blue Bulls 14-9 at home in the 2008 Currie Cup Final. In 2010 the Sharks once again reached the Currie Cup final by defeating their old rivals the Blue Bulls 16-12. They contested the final at home against Western Province on Saturday 30 October 2010, and beat them 30-10 to win the coveted trophy once again. The Sharks failed to hold onto the Currie Cup in 2011 losing 42-16 to the Golden Lions in the finals at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, although some say this was due to the loss of all the Springboks during the Rugby World Cup, the Sharks did play the final with all their Springboks being available.
The Sharks are a well supported team with significant support coming from across KwaZulu-Natal as well as from parts of the Eastern Cape.
The Sharks Brand
After being informally called the Banana Boys (or af: Piesangboere) for a substantial length of time it was decided in 1995 that the whole offering would go ahead with new branding - The Sharks. This Brand was conceived, presented and initially executed by Terry Kukle of Tag International Media. The Sharks mascot Sharkie was launched in 1995. To achieve this a substantial budget was allocated to refine this vision that would include the match facilities, the pre and post match activities and the team.
The local press at first were very hesitant to accept the new name and branding and fans were polarised by the radical proposed change that flew in the face of rugby tradition and convention. After much controversy in the media (which very rapidly brought the proposed brand to everyone's attention) and a very successful season supported by great products and promotions the Sharks were embraced by all. The Sharks' marketing has been widely acknowledged in marketing and rugby circles as best practice and included as a successful case study in many marketing text books.
There was initially significant resistance from many quarters. This resistance was ascribed to the traditional attitudes of the rugby loving stake holders. However the strategy was successful and the success of the marketing has been widely acknowledged. Crowd attendances, merchandising, suite holder and season ticket sales have all been very successful. The brand is now internationally recognised and the branding strategy is reaping dividends for all its stakeholders. Since 2001, The Sharks have averaged attendances above 30,000 in each Super Rugby game. The Sharks are well supported across South Africa, with sizeable fan bases in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. Most of their supporters however live in the KwaZulu-Natal province, particularly in Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Sharks supporters are some of the most loyal rugby fans in the world and often travel
KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union
The KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union was founded as the Natal Rugby Union in 1890. The KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union is the major shareholder in the Natal Sharks, and is responsible for the administration of club rugby in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Well known clubs in the region include Rovers, Durban Collegians, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (formerly University of Natal) and Old Boys RFC.
The senior clubs in the region compete for the "Moor Cup", a magnificent trophy presented in 1876 to George Moor, captain of the “Colonials” in their victory against the “Home-borns” in Kimberly. The trophy found its way to Pietermaritzburg and in 1957 the first KwaZulu-Natal club to win the cup was University of Natal (Durban campus).
The Natal Duikers and the Wildebeest
The Duikers is a club directly affiliated to the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union and fields representative provincial youth and amateur teams. The Duikers play in annual matches against the Quaggas (a similar team out of Gauteng) and compete internationally in the Malaysia Tens.
Until 2009 a second senior provincial team was called the Natal Wildebeest, competing against the Transvaal Rooibokke and later in the Vodacom Cup. Since 2010 this team has been brought into the professional Sharks set-up and competes in the Vodacom Cup as a Sharks XV.
The Natal Sharks Academy
The Natal Sharks are reputed to have one of the best academies in the world of Rugby Union. Players such as Ryan Kankowski, JP Pietersen, François Steyn, Tendai Mtawarira, Lwazi Mvovo, Patrick Lambie and Keegan Daniel are all graduates of the programme. The Academy also run a 'gap year' style programme for overseas players, specifically aimed at school leavers. The academy, which is accredited by SA Rugby and backed by a strategic partnership with the Sharks, offers a full-time, three-year course designed for young people with a passion for rugby and a desire to forge a career in the sport.
The Natal Sharks Region
Vodacom Cup team
In for 2014
Out for 2014
Natal Springboks (past and present)
Roy McLean, one time fly half also played for SA cricket team.
|1956||Northern Transvaal||9 - 8||Natal Sharks||Kings Park Stadium, Durban|
|1984||Western Province||19 - 9||Natal Sharks||Newlands Stadium, Cape Town|
|1990||Natal Sharks||18 - 12||Northern Transvaal||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria|
|1992||Natal Sharks||14 - 13||Transvaal||Ellis Park, Johannesburg|
|1993||Transvaal||21 - 15||Natal Sharks||Kings Park Stadium, Durban|
|1995||Natal Sharks||25 - 17||Western Province||Kings Park Stadium, Durban|
|1996||Natal Sharks||33 - 15||Golden Lions1||Ellis Park, Johannesburg|
|1999||Golden Lions||32 - 9||Natal Sharks||Kings Park Stadium, Durban|
|2000||Western Province||25 - 15||Natal Sharks||Absa Stadium, Durban|
|2001||Western Province||29 - 24||Natal Sharks||Newlands, Cape Town|
|2003||Blue Bulls2||40 - 19||Natal Sharks||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria|
|2008||Natal Sharks||14 - 9||Blue Bulls||ABSA Stadium, Durban|
|2010||Natal Sharks||30 - 10||Western Province||ABSA Stadium, Durban|
|2011||Golden Lions||42 - 16||Natal Sharks||Ellis Park, Johannesburg|
|2012||Western Province||25 - 18||Natal Sharks||Kings Park Stadium, Durban|
|2013||Natal Sharks||33 - 19||Western Province||Newlands, Cape Town|
- "Sharks Squad". Sharks Rugby. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- "SA Rugby - The Sharks 2013 Currie Cup Squad". SA Rugby. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- "Stut-skok vir GW, Cheetahs". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Beeld. 15 August 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
- "Jake gee Haaie vroeë Kersgeskenk toe hy met Etienne kontrak sluit". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Beeld. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Sharks hooker off to Toulon". Sport24.co.za. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "UKZN Impi getting Butch". Varsity Cup. 14 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
- "Union Sports Group: Brynard Stander". Union Sports Group. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
- Official website
- Sharksworld - Fan site dedicated to the Sharks rugby teams
- Cape Town Sharks Supporters Club - Official website of the Sharks supporters club in Cape Town, South Africa
- Cape Town Sharks Supporters Club on Facebook - Facebook page of the Sharks supporters club in Cape Town, South Africa
- Durban Sharks Supporters Club - Official website of the Sharks supporters club in Durban, South Africa
- East Rand Sharks Supporters Club - Official website of the Sharks supporters club in East Rand, South Africa
- Gauteng Central Sharks Supporters Club - Official website of the Sharks supporters club in Gauteng, South Africa
- Pretoria Sharks Supporters Club - Official website of the Sharks supporters club in Pretoria, South Africa