Mariette Adams and Dylan Jack debate whether Stormers coach John Dobson’s assessment that his team is overhyped is correct or not?
Jack says yes
Despite his side starting the season with three wins out of three, coach John Dobson dashed out a bit of reality this week as he expressed his concern with his team’s performances.
Dobson’s concern appeared to be more over how his side had actually played in their three games, rather than over their results from those three games.
In this regard, the Stormers are being a little overhyped as potential champions.
While they were excellent in their opener against the Hurricanes, they still struggled to finish their opportunities and needed an intercept try to claim a bonus-point at Newlands.
Meanwhile, while they were brilliant defensively against the Bulls, the Stormers battled to carve out any real chances and were perhaps fortunate that Pote Human’s team did not make the most of their chances in the second half. They also could not argue if the Lions went on to win at Ellis Park, given how badly they faded in the final quarter.
On the basis of the strength and depth of their squad, as well as their results, the Stormers certainly are not overhyped. However, with that as a given, they certainly have not matched that with their performances and can certainly play far better than what they are at the moment.
This is what makes their next match against the Jaguares so crucial to their season as a whole. If they they manage to build on what they showed at stages in their first three games, and go on to win the game, then they can start to be spoken of a title challengers.
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Adams says no
In the wake of the Stormers’ 33-30 smash-and-grab win over the Lions, coach Dobson stated that his team is overhyped.
Whether he truly believes that or whether it was just a knee-jerk response, considering how his team played on the day, is not clear. But that statement is certainly contradictory to his views at the start of season when he said the Cape side should easily win the South African conference.
‘Without being too arrogant, I can’t see how we can not be [favourites] in the conference. I think it will be an underachievement [if the Stormers don’t win the conference], given the personnel we’ve got, the returning Boks, some good youngsters, an incredible blend of youth and experience and a couple of other factors in our favour like a reasonably good home run before we travel too far, and it being the last year at Newlands,’ he said at the time.
‘It seems like a perfect storm, and it almost seems like we’re set up to disappoint again because it just seems too good to be true, to be honest,’ he added.
Be that as it may, the Stormers beat the Hurricanes 27-0 and the Vodacom Bulls 13-0 on consecutive weekends in the opening two rounds of the competition. That is some feat, when you take into account the Stormers have only ever kept three clean sheets since the inception of the tournament (against the Highlanders in 2010 and the Cheetahs and Bulls in 2014).
The Stormers have 11 capped internationals in their squad, more than most other teams in the competition. They also boast the most balanced squad out of the four South African teams.
On the back of their previous results, complacency might have crept into the Stormers’ ranks heading into the clash against the Lions. But to suddenly brand them ‘overhyped’ on the back of one poor performance is ludicrous.
The Stormers have the means to dethrone the Jaguares as local conference winners and if they fail to do so this season, it won’t because they were overhyped. It’ll be because they failed to deliver despite having all the odds in their favour.
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images