Dobson calls on Stormers’ Boks for clash against ‘Crusaders of the north’
"To go to Dublin and win is the biggest away achievement," believes Stormers boss John Dobson.
Steven Kitshoff is back to lead the Stormers against Leinster on Friday. Picture: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images
It is a top-of-the-table clash, but even if the Stormers (59 points) were to pull off a surprise victory against the leaders, who have 71 points, it wouldn’t change the positions of the teams.
Return of the Boks
Back in the blue and white jersey this week are Boks Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Marvin Orie and Damian Willemse.
The other senior national players in the star-studded Stormers team are Manie Libbok, Deon Fourie, Joseph Dweba and, on the bench, Herschel Jantjies.
On top of this, Clayton Blommetjies is in red hot form, as is Dan du Plessis, while so consistent has been the form of scrumhalf Paul de Wet that Jantjies has to play off the bench.
Hacjivah Dayimani has also found an extra gear since moving to the Cape, while Ben-Jason Dixon and Ruben van Heerden are also on top of their games at the moment.
‘Crusaders of the north’
This is a Stormers team full of confidence and coach John Dobson knows he will need every man to be at his best if the Cape-based side are to upset Leo Cullen’s Leinster side.
“For me the benchmark in the south has always been the Crusaders and I see Leinster as the Crusaders of the north,” said Dobson. “They set the standard and they are what we as the Stormers want to be in terms of success and continuity.
‘I have huge admiration for what Leo has achieved as a player and a coach and massive respect for Leinster as one of the leading lights in world club rugby. It is going to be a massive challenge for us on Friday but it will give our players an indication of where they are in terms of defending the title.”
Dobson added winning in Dublin would be considered his team’s biggest achievement. “To go to Dublin and win is the biggest away achievement and that is why I rated Jake’s (White) Bulls semi-final win against Leinster as the match of the league (last year).
“We hope to emulate that wonderful achievement, and if not on Friday, then in the final.”
Leinster are expected to be without several first choice players, such as flyhalf Johnny Sexton, for the match, as many are either injured, concussed or resting following Ireland’s Six Nations match last weekend.
Stormers: Clayton Blommetjies, Suleiman Hartzenberg, Dan du Plessis, Damian Willemse, Seabelo Senatla, Manie Libbok, Paul de Wet, Hacjivah Dayimani, Ben-Jason Dixon, Deon Fourie, Marvin Orie, Ruben van Heerden, Frans Malherbe, Joseph Dweba, Steven Kitshoff (capt). Bench: JJ Kotze, Brok Harris, Neethling Fouche, Ernst van Rhyn, Willie Engelbrecht, Marcel Theunissen, Herschel Jantjies, Jean-Luc du Plessis