Head coach John Dobson said there’s no “easy fix” for the DHL Stormers after back-to-back defeats heading into a clash with Vodacom URC champions Munster this week.
The Stormers’ much-anticipated grudge match in Limerick against Munster on Saturday is the centrepiece of a gruelling four-week European tour for last season’s losing finalists.
The Capetonians were two wins from two starts in the Republic, which had them sitting atop the URC league table, but have dropped to ninth on the table after going down to Benetton in Italy in round 4 following a loss at Glasgow Warriors eight days earlier.
“We wanted to go to Munster on the front foot, not the back foot. The defeat against Benetton is extremely disappointing,” Dobson was quoted in the media post-match in Treviso.
“We needed this win. It was one of the wins we wanted on tour, so it is hugely disappointing for us. Without playing particularly well, we probably done enough to win it.
“It puts a lot of pressure on next week, but we have been in these positions before and we do fight back, but I am very frustrated with this.”
The Stormers were never out of the contest against Benetton, thanks to tries from Warrick Gelant and Courtnall Skosan, and had a late opportunity to potentially seal a draw with a penalty on the 22-metre line in the 74th minute.
However, Dobson’s men went for an attacking lineout and, after being held out by a strong Benetton defence, ended up back in their own 22, after conceding a penalty.
From there, the hosts were able to close out the game, despite losing the ball forward over the tryline after a late onslaught.
“I think ‘frustrating’ is the exact word,” Dobson added. “Right at the end of the game, we had three lineouts in their 22, which would have given us the fourth-try bonus point and the win and we butchered it.
“As much as Benetton fought, we really threw it away.
“I think we were very impatient with the ball and there were all sorts of curious decisions with ball in hand with kicking and cross-kicks. Our contestable game was poor, so it was very frustrating.
“Some of our players are X-factor players and we reap the rewards when their things come off and we pay a tax when it doesn’t come off.
“It’s not something you fix like lineout coordination or something like that. It is not an easy fix. It is something we have to review ourselves.”
Photo: Alfio Guarise/INPHO/Shutterstock