This is just weird!
It looks to me as though they have finally got their heads around the travel & acclimitisation issues, playing to their traditional strengths of big forwards grinding opposition into the ground, but refreshingly this year showing alot more confidence in the backs.
The Stormers have been very impressive on their tour of NZ. Giving the Hurricanes a beating, then heart-breakingly for them losing in the last seconds to the Highlanders. Alan Solomons is proving to be an innovative and inspirational coach. Having the golden boy Skinstadt back is also a big boost.
The Cats are a very intimidating team at home, with their fans showing the same affinity with throwing projectiles as Jonathon Kaplan found out Wellington fans also have. Laurie Mains influence on the Cats is very evident, and last years semi-final experience could put them in good stead this time around. They are built around that awesome loose forward pairing of Venter and Erasmus.
The real surprise packet has been the Sharks. Competition leaders and unbeaten after four rounds. Who would have picked that pre-season????? They are playing like they did a few years back under the man with the "I'm-a-nutter" eyes Ian McIntosh. They are yet to be tested outside of South Africa though.
Even the hapless Bulls have managed to brutally injure a few Brumbies players, as well as give them an awful fright. It looks like Joe Roff might have his wish and do a "Jeff Wilson" (nothing grubby!) and have a year off...unplanned as it is.
Its about time the South African sides started to fulfill their potential. With a rich rugby tradition, magnificent rugby stadiums and fanatical fans they should always be contenders.
Harry V. must be rubbing his hands with glee with the possibilities the Bokke side could have this year with the Wobblies loosing key players and the AB's looking rather less than secure with the awfully inconsistent performances from its S12 sides.
This could be the year of the Bokke.