THERE are many reasons to savour Western Province’s against-the-odds Currie Cup win at the weekend, not the least being the fact that it ends 11 long years without the trophy for the local team.
The old saying about success breeding success will now hopefully apply to rugby in the Western Cape.
Another reason for celebration was that the team who bearded the heavily-favoured Sharks in their own den were an exceptionally young one. Seven of the players in blue-and-white hoops during the match could have played in the under 21 final curtain-raiser.
The depleted under-21 team unfortunately lost to the Bulls, but Province’s under-19 side won their final on Saturday against opponents from the Pretoria franchise.
These results suggest that the years to come should see a healthy base of young talent being available for the Stormers and Western Province.
It was also a victory created through an extraordinary team spirit. This had been evident the week before when Province just beat the Lions in Johannesburg, and was obvious again at the weekend.
Even the most ardent of Province supporters must have been surprised at the collective willpower with which the team confronted setbacks. Their defence also suggested players committed to the greater cause.
Then there were the flashes of brilliance: centre Juan de Jongh’s excellent try off a cunning move which backline coach Robbie Fleck later revealed had been practised time and again in the days beforehand.
And, of course, flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis’s coolness in slotting two drop goals in the second half, which frustrated the Sharks fightback. Or Eben Etzebeth’s lineout work. And more.
But most of all it was the unexpected nature of the triumph that made it a special celebration for Province fans. Their Sharks counterparts had been sneering on social media platforms beforehand, while most Province supporters were bracing themselves for defeat.
But sport is often at its best when it does not conform to a plot, and that was a surprise that we in the Western Cape will savour for a long time.