Stormers coach John Dobson says former Springbok lock Hilton Lobberts is a ‘case point’ in how the SA Rugby system does not work for every player.
Lobberts was a surprise inclusion in the 28-man Stormers squad to play against four different university teams on Varsity Day at Florida Park on Saturday.
The 33-year-old has not been offered a contract by Western Province and has instead returned to the Western Cape to continue his career in club rugby.
However, Dobson said that he hopes this weekend’s game can shed a bit of light on the forward, whose career never fulfilled its promise after he made his Test debut at just 20-years-old.
‘Hilton played for us in the Vodacom Cup when we won it in 2012,’ Dobson said. ‘He has an interesting story, there is much more to it than meets the eye. He is a club player now, he plays for Hamiltons. He identified as a club player so he is not contracted with us at all.
‘So we have a guy who is a Springbok who is in the club system because we need numbers for these friendlies. We can’t call on the clubs as much because they are not ready and the varsities want to keep their own players. So we need numbers.
‘Hilton Lobberts is a good case point. He played his first Springbok game when he was only 20 and the system has not really worked for him. He has not got a professional contract and now has to make a life after rugby. So hopefully the clubs can help him get a job and he can develop. In a funny way, we are helping him out as well.
‘But it is a good lesson. Hilton hasn’t earned enough out of rugby. He has been at the Griquas and Pumas to retire and he is 32-years-old. I hope this opportunity pays off for him. Whether he gets a contract somewhere else or a club gives him a job.’
John Dobson explains Hilton Lobberts’ inclusion in the Stormers squad for this weekend’s Varsity Day. pic.twitter.com/tJYtJaCfhQ
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) January 9, 2020
Photo: Ashley Vlotman / Gallo Images