CAPE TOWN – Western Province have had absolutely no rivals when it comes to the beauty they’ve produced on attack this season.
From the six games they’ve played in the build-up to the Currie Cup semi-finals there have been too many fine moments to recall.
From Sergeal Petersen’s surges down touch (whether those were the product of individual brilliance or fantastic interplay) to Dillyn Leyds’ contributions that have continued to highlight his attacking quality.
From Ruhan Nel’s classy work in midfield that resulted in a Springbok call-up, to Josh Stander’s subtle touches.
From the way the forwards have gone about their business in the tight to slotting into attack seamlessly, Province have just been on fire. With the single-round, six-game competition, there was always going to be pressure to make the most of every game, especially on the defending champions.
And the fact that they pocketed a bonus point in all six of their games should say enough about their form.
John Dobson’s men have racked up some stunning numbers on attack.
Their points difference of 163 (the Sharks are second with 60 points, so that should say enough) and 38 tries have trumped all other teams’ tallies in the competition.
And what makes those stats even better is the fact that their defence - although it was an area that Dobson wanted to see a step-up in at one stage earlier in the competition - has also been tight in general.
But it was their last game against the Blue Bulls at Loftus that perhaps provided the most accurate indication of this team’s class.
And it showed that they can play in, and adapt to, ridiculous conditions.
In the last Currie Cup game of the weekend, WP produced a tactical gem and pounced on the Bulls’ mistakes, and there were many of those, right from the very first minute.
They put Pote Human’s side under pressure in their own half and made sure of their work at the scrum.
It was a masterclass at a soaking Loftus. And it was good enough to get them four tries in 40 minutes.
But as the Sharks’ campaign showed us last year - anything can happen.
The Durbanites were the top team during the pool stages in the domestic competition in 2017, but it’s what WP did in the final in Durban, after also overcoming them two weeks earlier, that provided quite a few lessons. Or rather, it’s what the Sharks didn’t do that brought some lessons.
The hosts’ performance was the perfect example of just why those first-time tackles are so important.
They showed why you need to secure the ball from your set-piece. And they showed that you can never take your foot off the gas - their 21-15 halftime lead, which ultimately turned into a 33-21 defeat, was testament to that.
They showed that you can’t stop going until you have the trophy firmly in your grasp.
So, I guess you can’t say that WP have the title in the bag already, regardless of how fantastic their season has been.
But if they just continue doing what they’ve been doing until now when they face the Bulls in their semi-final on Saturday, it’ll be hard not to visualise Western Province drinking champagne from the Currie Cup at Newlands next weekend.