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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter


Stormers leave coach John Dobson with mixed feelings despite victory

Dobson admitted he was a bit frustrated by his team's performance.


Stormers coach John Dobson was left with contrasting feelings following his team’s 31-7 win over Zebre in the United Rugby Championship on Saturday at Danie Craven Stadium.

Although the win was not the most convincing in terms of performance, it did break the Stormers’ four-game losing streak.

Dobson’s side had three World Cup winners – flanker Deon Fourie, flyhalf Manie Libbok and utility back Damian Willemse – back for the encounter, but their presence did little to transform the performance of the team.

The Stormers went into the half-time break leading 12-7 thanks to a converted try by Evan Roos and five points from Ruhan Nel.

Tries from Courtnall Skosan, Leolin Zas and Damian Willemse closed off the win to seal the five points on offer.

Despite the victory, however, Dobson was left a bit frustrated.

Mixed feelings

“Mixed feeling is one (word) that comes to mind. We knew going into the game that the team wouldn’t be cohesive,” Dobson said.

“There were great signs, lots of effort, people tried.  The only thing that concerned me was our defence at the back end of the first half.

“We pride ourselves in getting off the line and double tackles, and I felt it was single tackles, we didn’t clean off the double, which was concerning, that was not our DNA. For the rest of the performance, it was pretty par.”

Desperate for form

The Stormers were error-prone throughout the game. Dobson said the errors possibly came from the players being in a state of desperation to find some form.

“The guys are desperate. It’s like in cricket when you’re out of form, you just try too hard, and that’s where we are. It will change, there’s no question it will change,” he said.

“We saw signs tonight. Don’t forget those guys last played with their 10 (Libbok) and 12 (Willemse) in May, those are your game drivers, add 15 (Warrick Gelant) … and these three haven’t played together since two years ago.”

Dobson’s charges will start their Champions Cup journey on Saturday when they host defending champions La Rochelle at Cape Town Stadium.

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