Stormers coach John Dobson described his side’s discipline as ‘woeful’ after they had two players red-carded in the 33-30 loss to the Sharks on Saturday.
In the Rainbow Cup SA opener at Cape Town stadium, the home side had opened up a 17-0 lead, but their momentum was disrupted by two untimely red cards, which left them playing with 13 men for a key period of the match.
Seabelo Senatla was the first player to receive his marching orders as early as the 13th minute after a reckless and mistimed aerial challenge resulted in Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi doing a 360 degree flip.
What are your thoughts on this red-card incident from the Stormers-Sharks clash? pic.twitter.com/9eGq4UhCYd
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It was just a minute later that debutant No 8 Willie Engelbrecht saw the first of his two yellow cards for similar high and dangerous tackles, which resulted in his sending off in the second half.
While the Stormers did benefit from the new law allowing a red carded player to be replaced after 20 minutes, they still found themselves with a numerical disadvantage, which the Sharks ruthlessly exploited, running in four quickfire tries in the space of 14 minutes to turn the game on its head.
‘I think we were unlucky to lose it, but we know why we did and it’s our own fault,’ Dobson said after the match.
‘It was woeful. I don’t know if we’ve even had a red card before, so to give away two in one game was remarkable. It cost us massively.
‘When we went from 15 men to 13 within minutes, we had to start taking time off the game. We were playing with a nice rhythm and awareness on attack, with a good energy. We then had to take that energy out.
‘I don’t think we ever recovered that energy until those last few minutes. It was a pity because we tried to play a certain brand today and obviously those cards took it away from us. It was disappointing, but it was entirely our own fault.’
Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images