CAPE TOWN – “It is like we know that if we lose every other game, but we just beat the Bulls, then it will be all okay for our supporters.”
Stormers loose forward Pieter-Steph du Toit could not have provided a better description of what the North-South derby still means in the wider spectrum of South African rugby.
Due to the Lions dominance of the SA conference over the last few years, there is the new-found belief that their contest against the Sharks has been raised to the biggest local derby, but there remains nothing like the Stormers against the Bulls.
It has legacy, going back to battles fought in the Currie Cup in times gone by.
There will be an extra element today (3.05pm kickoff), with the Marvel-inspired jerseys creating a Super Hero feel to the atmosphere, but this derby has always had its own heroes.
Joost van der Westhuizen, Corné Krige, Victor Matfield, Bryan Habana... these players did not need armour, for they were proud to bleed for their teams.
Today will be no different. Siya Kolisi has Stormers blood running through his veins. Handré Pollard is the new liefling of Loftus.
So, hopefully this afternoon’s contest will provide another chapter in the storied history of what remains the greatest rugby rivalry in the land.