Hardman Ben-Jason Dixon can’t wait to again get stuck into the Glasgow Warriors in Scotland and help fuel a hot-launch to the DHL Stormers’ four-week tour.
The DHL Stormers kicked off with two bonus-point wins to begin the 2023-24 Vodacom United Rugby Championship, backing up a win against the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg with a commanding 52-7 victory against the Scarlets at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch.
These performances have propelled the DHL Stormers to the top of the log ahead of their Round Three clash with Glasgow at the Scotstoun Stadium on Friday night.
In what was a breakthrough season for Dixon, he played in 21 games for the DHL Stormers in all competitions in 2022/23, including the Vodacom URC Grand Final at DHL Stadium.
Having started the season at lock, he also gained some valuable experience at blindside flank, proving himself to be a relentless machine on defence.
“It’s what we wanted from the first two matches, to go over on 10 points and I know it’s still early days, but we’re top of the log and it gives us a bit of confidence and sets us up nicely,” Dixon said.
“We’re building nicely and scored a few nice tries, which is always good for the fans.”
The transition from sunny Stellenbosch to chilly Glasgow, however, doesn’t faze the 25-year-old: “It’s a lekker shock to the system, I like it; when you play in cold weather, even in South Africa, you seem to have a bit more energy so I’m excited.”
Outside centre Ruhan Nel has been ruled out for Friday’s match due to concussion, while recently-crowned world champions, such as Manie Libbok and Damian Willemse, are absent from the DHL Stormers’ backline.
Dixon acknowledges the added responsibility that falls on the shoulders of the forward pack.
“It’s not necessarily to take the heat off the backline but you know that cliche, ‘Forwards always win the match and the backs determine by how much’, and there’s a lot of truth in that, in the sense that the arm wrestle really starts in the pack and in the set-piece and collisions.
“So if we can stop the momentum from the opposing forward packs, especially them playing at home, that is something we really want to do and make it as easy for our backs.”
Glasgow, though, will be eager to bounce back after a loss to Connacht and boast a narrow win against the DHL Stormers from last season.
Dixon pinpoints the breakdown contest and the speed at which the Scottish club attacks as potential threats for the rematch.
“Glasgow caught us a little off guard the last time out wide, so on defence we really have a point to prove,” he said.
“We’re very excited for the challenge, because we were here last year … same town, same team, and we lost narrowly, so we’re looking to correct that.
“The coaches have some plans around the 4G pitch and how we can best adapt to it, and it should be a fast game, very physical and intense. We definitely want to kick off the tour on a high.”
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