Yes mense, I am one of those rugby-crazed fans who will wake up early just to see the game played thousands of sea miles away.
Now I’ve never really had the opportunity to do this, but now I will reveal a secret sporting love affair I’ve had for decades.
All of us have that one team that just makes them wakker whenever they watch them play - I actually have a few in different sporting codes.
In soccer, I am a big Arsenal fan. But at the moment the team that gets my juices flowing is Wolves.
Always a big fan of the underdog that leaves nothing out on the field, Wolves have had me glued to my TV screen ever since Nuno Espirito Santo started the Portuguese invasion - yes, I keep an eye on Championship soccer too.
Anyway, that’s not the affair I want to reveal; this one has to do with the oval ball.
Now, I’ve watched Super Rugby from the time South African teams started participating in it, way back in 1993.
In 1996, the professional era, Super 12, started. It also coincided with the birth of New Zealand’s Hurricanes.
It’s probably here where I have to mention that my team of choice is and always was Western Province.
We, as WP, finished second from bottom that year, with the Crusaders taking the wooden spoon. In ninth were the Canes.
PS: the Western Stormers, as they were baptised, were only formed two years later with the launch of arguably rugby’s ugliest kit ever.
Still, it was my team and I had to learn to love that jersey - luckily they did away with it the following year.
Meanwhile in Wellington, Christian Cullen and Tana Umaga led a Hurricanes backline that could spark the magic from anywhere on the pitch. Die ouens was magic, manne.
They were simply delightful to watch on attack, and while they were inconsistent because they never really had a competitive pack of forwards, I never missed a match.
As we entered the new millennium, All Blacks icon Jonah Lomu joined and in later years they had Ma’a Nonu teaming up with Umaga in the midfield.
All the while, the Canes never failed to excite fans with their expansive brand of rugby.
They realised that they needed a pack of forwards in later years and added some beef, before eventually winning the title in 2016.
Fast forward to today and it’s clear that I would like TJ Perenara, Dane Coles and company to win the New Zealand tournament.
I do believe the loss of flyhalf Beauden Barrett to the Blues is a big one and will have an impact on the team, but at least he went to the Blues, who are my second favourite Kiwi team.
Back when the Blues still played as Auckland and with the likes of Zinzan Brooke in the team, they were the top dogs from New Zealand.
We’ve seen some glimpses of what they can do over the years that followed, but the Blues have been struggling with consistency in, like, forever.
Hopefully Barrett can bring something resembling a consistent high level of performance to that team.
The team to beat will obviously be the Crusaders - historically the best team in the southern hemisphere.
Coach Scott Robertson’s Saders will enter the tournament as favourite after winning three titles in a row.
In Waikato, the Chiefs have what it takes to beat any team on their day.
With Damian McKenzie back to full fitness, they should be a threat to their countrymen.
Then there are the Highlanders, vir wie ek nou nie baie tyd het nie.
The Highlanders are a bit like the Aussies - I don’t get lus to watch them that often.
Anyway, who will you be supporting when the action kicks off in about three weeks?
I know there is a strong Crusaders fan base in the Mother City. In my book, though, the Crusaders are the Bulls if you are a Stormers fan - dunno why, but that’s how I see them.
So will we see Robertson do his disco dances again or will Perenara and my Canes give them a goeie pakslae?
I can’t wait go Canes!