Dobson: Stormers’ win felt like loss

Stormers head coach John Dobson says the team’s leadership was unhappy with their performance in their opening victory over the Lions on Saturday.

The Stormers opened their Super Rugby Unlocked campaign – following a bye in the first round – with a narrow 23-17 win over the Lions at Newlands.

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For much of the game, it was the visitors – inspired by a brilliant performance from captain and flyhalf Elton Jantjies – who were the better side as they took a slim lead into the break.

However, second-half tries from centre pair Rikus Pretorius and Dan du Plessis gave the Stormers the lead for the first time in the match, but they had to weather a late onslaught on their tryline to ensure the win.

Speaking after the match, Stormers coach Dobson and captain Siya Kolisi were both very blunt about the team’s scrappy performance.

”The change room felt like a loss and we were very disappointed with our performance,’ Dobson said. ‘There is no doubt we will be better for it.

‘As Siya said in the change room, individually there were some really substandard performances.’

When asked if there was anything positive to take from the match, Dobson said he was happy with the team’s domination of territory in the second half, but was concerned that they had to resort to aimlessly kicking the ball down the middle of the field to achieve that.

‘We won the territory battle really well, but how we did it worried me. In that second half, we were kicking kicks down the field that weren’t contestable or distance. We asked a lot of ourselves to defend that and it almost became like a training drill going down the middle of the field.

‘In five lineouts we failed to launch, whether we got the ball ripped or just lost the lineout. There was a little period in the first half when we got through some phases but, beyond that, not really. We certainly weren’t effective on attack and it’s something we have to work on.

‘It felt like we hadn’t played for a very long time and maybe the other teams have got that benefit of the extra game last week,’ Dobson added.

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The Stormers’ win came a day after SA Rugby had announced that the Springboks would not travel to Australia to defend their Rugby Championship title.

‘The way I played today, if I had to go play in an international game, there is no ways I would have survived,’ Bok captain Kolisi said.

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