John Dobson after Stormers’ loss to Munster: ‘Major disappointment’

"We wanted to stay at home and we have this whole drive to make Cape Town smile, so it’s disappointing for the fans."

John Dobson was in no mood for small victories after the Stormers suffered a significant setback in their quest for a home semi-final in the 26-24 defeat to Munster in Cape Town on Saturday night.

The Stormers had to settle for two log points after surrendering their first home loss since December 2021, when Munster plundered Cape Town Stadium for a bonus-point victory.

However, the record is less of a frustration to Dobson than the potential loss of a home semi-final – Ulster leapfrogged the Stormers into second place on the URC log, with the defending champions trailing the Irish side by two points going into the final round.

‘Hard to see a silver lining’

“Today was a major disappointment,” Dobson said. “We want to host a semi-final, so it’s hard to see a silver lining.

“The winning run was going to go at some stage. It’s not something we invested in as a team. We wanted to stay at home and we have this whole drive to make Cape Town smile, so it’s disappointing for the fans. We wanted to provide the occasion of a home semi-final and wanted to keep it in our own hands.

“We had to win today, that’s the bottom line. Just in terms of that home semi, which is so important. I don’t think those two bonus points are going to make a difference, to be honest. It’s just so disappointing because we were so close. It’s hard to see a silver lining from today other than the fact that we didn’t pick up any serious injuries.”

‘We had them on the ropes’

The Stormers fought back from an early deficit to draw level at 12-12 at half-time, but after failing to capitalise on their dominance in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, crucially conceded tries.

“In those last 10 minutes before half time, we had them on the ropes and we just kept letting them off the ropes. We lost two lineouts. You could see them sitting down. We eventually got the try. Then we got those penalties after half time and we didn’t convert. That period killed us. We absolutely had them on the ropes.

“The effort was there today, but something was missing. I can’t put my finger on it. I can’t fault the effort or character but something was missing in that second half.”

Captain Steven Kitshoff agreed with Dobson that the first 10 minutes of the second half was the decisive period of the game.

“I think that was our best 10 minutes of the game, to not come away with points is draining. The guys worked so hard, got penalty after penalty, but the yellow card didn’t happen and then we didn’t get points. It does drain you, it feels like you are going nowhere.”

The Stormers face Benetton in the final round in Stellenbosch on Friday and will hope that Edinburgh can do them a favour by beating Ulster in Belfast.

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