at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Cape Town - Six crocked Boks from Stormers country are missing from the next national squad, leaving just five Western Cape players in the 36-man Springbok outfit.
But on Saturday night it barely mattered - as the underdog Stormers bullied the rampant log-leading Sharks into submission in a famous victory.
Afterwards, resurgent game-breaker Juan de Jongh gave a shout in honour of “our true supporters” for their loyalty, especially the “Newlands faithful” who’d trekked all the way up to the Shark Tank in Durban - despite widespread predictions that the Du Plessis brothers, the Beast and their team-mates were going to eat the Stormers alive.
But a last-second drop-goal from Jaco Taute - in the footsteps of his fellow Capetonian Joel Stransky - left Jake White’s men stunned, on the wrong side of the 21-19 scoreline.
Once celebrations end in the Mother City, the focus shifts to the international season of 2014, which starts on Saturday at Newlands, with the Boks up against a World XV led by another famous Streeptrui-wearer, former Bok coach Nick Mallett, who famously once captained an SA A-team to victory over a Bok team he’d been omitted from.
And from leader down, multiple injuries to the Stormers mean their representation in the green-and-gold will be thin.
Bok skipper and Saru Player of the Year Jean de Villiers has knee problems; Young Player of the Year Eben Etzebeth has foot issues; pocket rocket Gio Aplon has an elbow injury; human bullock Frans Malherbe remains sidelined after concussion; hooker Scarra Ntubeni has foot grief too; while scrummy Louis Schreuder has an out-of-order hand.
And Stormers contingent in the Boks would have been one less still - had human wrecking ball Schalk Burger’s neck woes continued.
But it appears he will be fit, so the blue-and-white hooped Springboks will be the 68-capped blonde, his fellow-loosie Duane Vermeulen, smart-stepping centre De Jongh with 14 caps and lank flank Siya Kolisi with his 10. Joining them will be Damian de Allende, pending a fitness test on Monday.