ONCE more unto the breach, dear friends the season is at a crescendo and we ain't seen nuttin' yet. When did we last live through such stirring times? It's the Stormers tomorrow and the smart money says we'll do it. Next stop the Land of the Long White Underpants. But one thing at a time.
Last Saturday showed without doubt that the Sharks are now one of the world's top outfits. They can take on anyone. Those 15 minutes of absolutely heroic defence on our own tryline will go down in the annals of rugby history. Then there were the break-outs to run in tries. Magnificent stuff! As Katinka, Ukrainian lead dancer at the Thunder Bar, puts it: "If ze Natal Rugby Union should last a sousand years, men vill say: 'Ziss voss zeir finest hour!'"
It was a fine hour for us as well as we watched and savoured the game at a certain hostelry. Well a fine few hours, to be perfectly accurate, as we ran into a few ex-Kenyans and launched into celebratory versions of One Man Went to Mow and Good King Wenceslas in Swahili, then a Zulu version of Who Killed Cock Robin? As always, rugby brings out the best in us.
Tomorrow's prospects? Well, the Stormers ended top of the log never forget that and they've had a week's lay-off while our guys have been flying backwards and forward besides playing Queensland. Peter Grant of the deadly accurate boot (Maritzburg College, natch!) is always a factor. Bok captain Jean de Villiers is no slouch. None of the Stormers are slouches. Their lock forwards are King Kongs.
But our guys are on a roll. Kankowski, Coetzee, Keegan Daniel they're everywhere. We've got probably the strongest front row in the world. The backs are running onto the ball beautifully. Freddie Michalak is calling the shots like a maestro. The handling is superb, the off-loads unbelievable. And the guys have confidence in themselves. This is close to unstoppable.
What says Katinka? Snap! Snap! She strums at her suspender belt. "Yoost look at ze betting slips I got stowed here. Sharks all ze vay! Beesmarck! Yonnie! Be-e-e-ast! Michalak, I vant to kees him! You votch Keegan Daniel! Votch JP! Votch zem all Ve got ze combination!" Snap! Snap! "Land of ze long vite onderpants, here ve kom!"
Katinka's suspender belt is seldom wrong. What an incredible finale looms if we should pull it off tomorrow. We Natalians are relaxed. Whatever happens, it's already been a great season. Anything from now is a bonus. But a bonus we'll pocket with pleasure.
It's been a great few days for sport. The First Test at the Oval; Ernie Els in the British Open. Now's the chance for us to round it off in fine style. As ever, the ladies are advised to wear knickers because the elastic is likely to be required for the fashioning of catapults for the feu de joie a celebratory shooting out of the streetlights.
'Erewego, 'erewego, 'erewego!