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Dobson: Stormers will be better

John Dobson vowed the DHL Stormers will bounce back from what he termed their ‘worst performance’ in the Vodacom URC loss against Ospreys in Cape Town.

The  Stormers suffered a significant blow to their hopes of a home playoff after being added to Ospreys’ growing collection of scalps in a 24-21 defeat on Saturday night.

A penalty try after the hooter salvaged a losing bonus point for the home side, but it did little to mask a tactically ill-disciplined performance, in which their free-spirited nature on attack went into overdrive, to their detriment.

“It was unquestionably our worst performance,” Dobson said after the match. “We lost in the first URC to the Lions here, but we were utterly dominant in terms of possession in that game.

“We knew that Ospreys would fight. They have done some remarkable stuff this season with a small squad. Credit to them, we knew they would fight.

“In terms of our performance, it was so loose. I am really sorry about that. I can only apologise. It was poor.”

Ospreys were fully prepared to ruthlessly expose a reckless Stormers attack, and two of their tries in the first half came as a direct result of risky plays from the hosts, one a hospital pass in the 22 and the other a desperate cross-field kick.

“That was taking it to the extreme,” Dobson admitted. “We spoke about it before the game and at half time. We had a situation with two tight forwards passing to each other on our tryline in the first half. We were loose as can be.  It’s a concern. It’s frustrating. We coughed up 16 balls today.

“The key thing for us is to get go-forward down the middle of the field. That was what went wrong today. Our message today before the game couldn’t have been clearer, dent them first, run direct and hard lines and then we will open up the sides, because we have magic playmakers.

“We are proud of who we are, but that was too loose and very poor. I really am sorry.”

Dobson made nine changes to his starting lineup from the side that ran two-time European champions La Rochelle to the last minute in the Champions Cup round of 16.

“We have to be good enough to beat Ospreys at home, even if we make 10 changes,” he said. “That’s part of the project here. That’s a big wake up call for us tonight.

“When they scored to go 24-14 up, there were still 17 minutes left. I still thought we were going to win this game. For some reason, we changed our style of rugby and forced it.

“I will give Ospreys credit, we didn’t move them in the scrum, except right at the end, and we couldn’t move them in the maul. That is well done to them.”

Frans Malherbe, who took over the captaincy as Salmaan Moerat was still recovering from a concussion, admitted the Stormers went against their gameplan.

“It’s very frustrating. There are fundamentals in place that gives us the license to play the offload or to keep the ball,” the two-time World Cup winner and Stormers centurion said.

“That was not our plan. It was very frustrating. We must take full ownership, look at ourselves and come back stronger.”

Next up for the Stormers is a clash with eight-time champions and log leaders Leinster. The Irish side fielded a young side against the Lions at Ellis Park and suffered a heavy defeat.

While promising that the Stormers will recover, Dobson knows it won’t be easy as Leinster will still be strong enough to turn the game into a battle.

“3pm at Ellis Park versus 7pm here, with their pride, it’s going to be a much tighter game than it was at Ellis Park,” Dobson said. “It will be a tougher game than we had tonight.

“We will be much better next week. But it is going to be a tougher game. Leinster have close to a 1000-cap second team. They are a proud team. So we are under real pressure now.”

The article Dobson: Stormers will be better appeared first on SA Rugby Magazine.

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