Coach John Dobson says the come-from-behind win for the DHL Stormers over the Lions was actually their “worst performance” of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.
Trailing by 12 points to the Lions at the break on Saturday, the Stormers raised their game in the second half, scoring three tries to secure a 31-22 bonus-point victory at Ellis Park.
It concluded the Stormers’ URC obligations for now, and speaking post-match in Johannesburg, Dobson told media: “We looked absolutely disjointed … giving away 11 penalties in our half. We lost territory, we lost possession, and our discipline – absolutely awful.
“And our lineout – we gave up five or six in the game. We looked disjointed.
“I thought one of our faults today – in a long list of faults – was we got sucked into that distance kicking where sometimes it was just one chase; all we had to do was make that pass to play that Stormers rugby because that’s our plan, to counter, and I felt we didn’t do that, we were poor at that today.
“We do have that ability to score so-called easy tries from anywhere, but I actually think we butchered one or two.”
The visitors played their way back into the game after the interval thanks to the impact from their bench, while the likes of Man of the Match Manie Libbok, Evan Roos and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu – all of whom will now link up with the Springboks for their end-of-year tour – took charge.
Dobson said: “I think ‘All’s well that ends well’ is probably a very good summation for us on that game. A lot of that process was poor, it was probably our worst performance, I felt.
“In 2018, it was the Currie Cup final and the Springbok team was leaving that night and [for Western Province] there were a whole lot of new Springboks, and the guys were on the plane in their heads, which I can understand because you’re making the Springboks.
“But for someone like Manie Libbok to produce a performance like that, knowing [about the tour] – the worst thing he could’ve done would be to get injured – I’m very pleased with that.
“And the bench, we introduced them earlier than we usually do and people will say tactical genius, I can tell you it’s because we were worried.”
On heading into the URC break with 24 points and four wins from six matches, he added: “I wasn’t so much worried about the points because we know what we need to get into the URC playoffs, I was more worried about the mindset and the whole aura around the team.
“We had a goal of 21 points for this period – we got 24 – and we go into the break feeling slightly better about ourselves, but we’ve got to be really careful about being too self-congratulatory given the obvious errors that were out there today.”