Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
6 Dec 2021
1:25 pm

‘Extra training week the cause of ill-discipline, lack of rhythm in URC’

Ross Roche

Stormers coach John Dobson believes there are valid reasons behind the sin-binning of his players in the team's loss to the Lions.

Referee Marius van der Westhuizen dished out five yellow cards during the United Rugby Championship match between the Stormers and Lions in Cape Town on Saturday. Picture: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

It was an ill-disciplined performance from both teams as the Lions trounced the Stormers 37-19 in their United Rugby Championship clash over the past weekend.

It was not a dirty match, with players making mistakes rather than being malicious, but the refs were unforgiving as five yellow cards were handed out, two to the Stormers and three to the Lions, while both sides conceded a slew of penalties.

Stormers coach John Dobson believes his side’s discipline played a big part in the team’s poor performance and that was something they will have to improve on.

“I thought it was a well refereed and well handled game, but was ill-disciplined from both teams. It is something we are disappointed with because we spoke about it before the game and then in the first 10 or 20 minutes we were quite ill-disciplined,” said Dobson.

“So I don’t think it’s great for rugby to have these ill-disciplined games. Not in terms of the old traditional ill-discipline of players trying to decapitate each other, I am talking more about technical aspects of the game and keeping disciplined there.

“So we were disappointed with our discipline and I think it had an effect on the outcome of the match.”

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Part of the reason for the ill-discipline and mistakes made by both sides over the match could come down to the extra week’s break in play after the teams were all set to face foreign opposition a week prior before the postponement of those games due to the new Covid variant.

That extra week, according to Dobson, made a big impact on all of the SA URC teams, contributing to what was seen over the weekend.

“It affected all the teams, I think we saw it in the game between the Sharks and the Bulls too, there were a lot of mistakes and a lack of flow. I think you can put that down to the break that took away any momentum,” explained Dobson.

“I think it was the extra week that was the killer. I think coming off a few weeks’ rest then two weeks pre-season and then into a match week as was the initial plan, was fine. I think it was this extra week that pushed it out a bit.

“But it was great to play again and I must congratulate SA Rugby for their resilience in ensuring that we did get to play, because we do need games, but in both derby games we saw a lack of flow and rhythm.”