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Western Province Rugby

Western Province Rugby is a South African rugby union team that participates in the annual Currie Cup tournament. The team has won the Currie Cup on 32 occasions and has the most supporters of any Currie Cup team.

The team plays in blue and white hooped jerseys,and its home ground is the Newlands Stadium in Cape Town. They are nicknamed "Die Streeptruie" (The Striped Jerseys) in reference to their legendary blue and white hooped jerseys.

These Striped Jerseys were the colors of Malmesbury Rugby football Club, established in 1881.They are also known simply as "Province" by all South African rugby lovers.

Afrikaans speaking supporters refer to the team by its abbreviation, W.P. (pronounced: "vee pee"["ee" as in "beer"]) The Western Province also competes as the DHL Stormers in the Super Rugby competition.

The club was established in 1883. The club claimed their first Currie Cup title in 1889; they repeated this success just three years later, winning the title again in 1892. Western Province continued to dominate the Currie Cup throughout the 1890s, winning the competition in 1894, 1895, 1897 and 1898. This success continued into the early 1900s, as they won in 1904, 1906 and 1908.

The competition still being contested irregularly at this stage, was next won by the Western Province in 1914. They won a further seven times over the next two decades - four times in the 1920s and again three times in the 1930s, sharing two with Border. When the first Currie Cup championship was introduced in 1939, Western Province featured in the final, but lost to Transvaal 17-6 in Cape Town.

After losing the final in 1946 to Northern Transvaal, Western Province won their first final in 1947. The Currie Cup became an annual competition in 1969 and Western Province made it to the final that year, though they lost to Northern Transvaal.

The team had to wait another seven seasons before making another final appearance, which they lost against the Orange Free State (recently renamed as the Free State Cheetahs) in Bloemfontein.

Three years later they won the Currie Cup, sharing with Northern Transvaal at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town. The next year Province again lost in the final to Northern Transvaal. Northern Transvaal became Western Province's biggest rival during this time. Since 1969, the men from Pretoria have dominated the competition.

Prior to this, Western Province had dominated. During South Africa's sporting isolation (brought about as a result of the country's apartheid policy) this rivalry took centre stage and became the climax of the Currie Cup season. The teams met in another six championship finals until the 1990s. In the 1980s Western Province experienced what many described as their "golden years", winning the title outright for five years in a row.

This feat is yet to be equaled. (Northern Transvaal had achieved this before but their third victory in the winning streak was shared with Western Province) After drawing 16 all with Northern Transvaal in the 1989 final, their next final appearance would be in 1995, when they were defeated by the Natal Sharks in Durban. They won the Currie Cup in 1997, defeating the Free State Cheetahs, but the following season they lost to the Blue Bulls (Northern Transvaal).

Western Province won the championship twice in 2000 and 2001, defeating the Sharks on both occasions. As of 2008, they have yet to reclaim the title.

In the 1990s many teams changed their names as a result of pressure by the new ANC government. Previously many teams were named after the provinces they were based in and seeing as these provinces no longer existed, the names were no longer valid.

Some teams simply added some form of animal or mascot name (e.g. Boland became the Boland Cavaliers) whereas others had to change their entire name. Transvaal for example had to change their name to the Golden Lions. Northern Transvaal were also renamed the Blue Bulls although this was less of a problem for their supporters as this had been the team's nickname for many years.

Western Province is the only union that has never changed its name or added anything to it.