DHL Stormers coach John Dobson has revealed that Springbok assistant Felix Jones provided him with tips on beating Leinster ahead of Friday’s Vodacom URC clash.
Defending champions, the Stormers face the five-time European champions at the RDS Arena in a top-of-the-table battle, and are set to clash for the first time in Ireland.
Speaking during a media conference after naming a powerful match-day 23 on Thursday, Dobson told reporters that the Stormers also studied the Vodacom Bulls’ URC semi-final win in Dublin last season.
“There are some things the Bulls can do or are very good at that are probably not part of our plan, but we definitely had a good look at that game,” he said.
“Some of the reads they made, some of the contesting stuff … remember when Leinster had those attacking lineouts and the Bulls turned over two or three of those. And some of their maul defence,” the Stormers mentor said.
“We’ve had a look at a couple of other games where teams have run them close this year, and we also had a nice chat with Felix Jones, the Springbok assistant coach, who knows them very well.
“He played at Leinster and Munster, and he knows our players and was at the [Bok] alignment camp. So, I think we’ve prepped really, really well around looking at them. And he gave us some models when Irish provinces have done really well against Leinster.
“The truth is, nobody’s beaten them in any competition since the Bulls won 27-26 almost 10 months ago. So, we must be aware of the enormity of the task, and it’s not going to be an easy formula.
“He [Jones] made it crystal clear: as much as we are going to have defensive plans, line-speed – whatever we’re going to use [on Friday] – the opportunities they give the opposition teams are very few and far between.
“We have to take those, and that’s not something you can coach and plan around. Opportunities are a ball hops and bounces a funny way … and the players want to take every opportunity they get – but that’s not always something you can control. It’s a big challenge, but we’re up for it.”
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