Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Stormers promise to bounce back from ‘worst performance of season’

The Stormers now turn their attention to table toppers Leinster, who will be smarting after a heavy 44-12 loss to the Lions.

An apologetic Stormers Director of Rugby John Dobson promised that his team would drastically improve, after they produced their ‘worst performance’ to be stunned 27-21 by Ospreys in the United Rugby Championship (URC) over the weekend.

It was the Welsh side’s first win in Cape Town and was also the Stormers‘ first home defeat of the season, which has now thrown them into a battle for the URC playoffs, instead of them putting pressure on the teams in the top four on the log.

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The loss saw them slip from fifth to sixth on the log, two points behind Benetton directly above them and six off the Bulls in fourth place.

Top eight battle

They are also level on points with seventh placed Ospreys, and just one point ahead of Edinburgh, Connacht, Ulster and the Lions who are all vying for a place in the top eight.

The Stormers will now have to lick their wounds and try and fix their major problem of overplaying, which has plagued their efforts so far this season.

“It was unquestionably our worst performance. We lost in the first (season of the) URC to the Lions here, but we were utterly dominant in terms of possession in that game,” said Dobson after the match.

“We knew that Ospreys would fight. They have done some remarkable stuff this season with a small squad. So credit to them, we knew they would fight. But in terms of our performance, it was so loose. I am really sorry about that. I can only apologise. It was poor.

“We took it to the extreme, we spoke about it before the game and at half time. We had a situation with two tight forwards passing to each other on our tryline in the first half, so we were loose as can be.

“It’s a concern. It’s frustrating. We coughed up 16 balls today. We are proud of who we are, but that was too loose and very poor. I really am sorry.”

Leinster challenge

The Stormers now have to turn their attention to table toppers Leinster, who will be smarting after a heavy 44-12 loss against the Lions at Ellis Park over the weekend.

Despite the fact that the Irish giants have sent a largely second-string squad to South Africa for their tour, Dobson is well aware that they have enough experience and depth to bounce back from that result.

“3pm at Ellis Park versus 7pm here, with their pride, it’s going to be a much tighter game than it was at Ellis Park. It will be a tougher game than we had tonight,” claimed Dobson.

“We will be much better next week. But it is going to be a tougher game. Leinster have close to a thousand cap second team. They are a proud team. So we are under real pressure now.”