John Dobson praises Stormers for securing home last-16 match
'To qualify for a home playoff from the group of death is extraordinary, we are very happy.'
John Dobson’s side went their last pool stage game of the Champions Cup aiming to get a win and secure last 16 home advantage. Picture: Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images.
Stormers coach John Dobson has applauded his side for achieving their objective of securing a home match in the last-16 of the Champions Cup after they finished in second place in Pool 4.
Dobson’s charges got the job done in Paris with a 24-20 win over Stade Français on Saturday night. The Cape Town side went into the break trailing 15-10 after they scored two tries through Herschel Jantjies and Ruben van Heerden.
And while they were 10 points down midway through the second half, tries by Hendre Stassen and Manie Libbok got them across the line at the end.
The Stormers were put under pressure by their opponents in the dying minutes of the game but held on bravely in the tough weather conditions in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.
‘We are very happy’
“Thrilled with the result, it was in incredibly tough conditions,” Dobson said in his post-match press conference.
“You could see the field freezing, the ball dropped, the players getting cold. I don’t think we have ever played in conditions like that. I have to praise the team for fighting in those conditions against a motivated Stade team. To qualify for a home playoff from the group of death is extraordinary, we are very happy,” he said.
The Stormers have now won six of their last seven matches in all competitions. Dobson’s team will have a break and return to action on February 17 in a United Rugby Champions clash against the Sharks.
‘We won’t lose momentum’
The Stormers mentor is not concerned about their three-week break halting the momentum created in the festive period.
“I don’t think we’ll lose momentum, we have to give these guys a break,” he said.
“I think a break is due. We have gone on an incredible run, and our best performance is probably the one we lost at Welford Road. It has been a great run for us. It’s a culture in the group to be fighters whether you’re playing or not.
“I think what is really important for me over the next few weeks is to work out the Springboks rest and lots of these guys are due a rest. We’ll plan on that, we’ll play a couple of friendlies and make sure the other guys are included and make sure they buy into the same sort of values,” Dobson said.