John Dobson: We want to play last 16 in Cape Town
The Stormers are determined to get a win against Stade Francais when the clash on Saturday night.
Stormers coach John Dobson says his team will focus on themselves this weekend. Picture: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images)
John Dobson’s Stormers will be looking to take lessons from this season’s European travels when they take on French side Stade Francais in a Champions Cup encounter at the Stade Jean Bouin on Saturday (7.30 pm).
The Stormers have not been good travellers this season; they lost all of their four games in their United Rugby Championship tour at the start of the campaign and lost their first away game in the Champions Cup 35-26 to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road Stadium.
These results, coupled with their performances in Europe in the past seasons, have seen the Stormers given the tag of bad travellers.
“We learnt a lot”
Saturday’s game in Paris presents the Stormers with an opportunity to change that notion and show they have learned how to play in Europe.
“Our results have been poor overseas, all of the South African franchises battle in these sorts of conditions,” said Dobson when speaking to the media after their captain’s run on Friday.
“I think even though the tour was poor, we learnt a lot. There was a lot about our process and understanding the kicking game which is much better. I think Welford Road (against Leicester) was an excellent, probably one of the better Stormers’ performances since we joined the various forms of Europe.
“I think we are growing in that and understanding the conditions and the kicking game. Manie (Libbok) has got experience up here now and Damian (Willemse) also at international level in these sort of conditions. Pretty optimistic that we are heading in the right direction,” he said.
‘Last 16 at home’
The Stormers are in France to try and make it out of Pool 4, the Champions Cup group of death.
Only Irish side Leinster are through to the last 16. Four teams are competing for the three remaining play-off spots — the Stormers (nine points), Leicester (nine points), La Rochelle (seven points), and Sale Sharks (five points). The Stormers will be focused on their game as they aim to finish in second place.
“We want to play for a round of 16 game at home and that requires us to get five points. We are playing to play the next round in Cape Town, that’s everything for us.
“Anything short of that, and we scrape through … great, job well done on getting out of the group of death. Five points is the only thing we are worried about,” said Dobson.