Joseph Dweba has found a new home with the Stormers and forwards coach Rito Hlungwani has shed light on how the defending champions are getting the best out of their Springbok hooker.
Dweba arrived in Cape Town last September with his career under a bit of a cloud.
A move to French outfit Bordeaux from the Cheetahs which was meant to take him to the next level did not go according to plan as Dweba struggled for consistent playing time. He then came under fire for his lineout throwing for the Springboks during the 2022 Rugby Championship.
However, since making his debut against Edinburgh, the 27-year-old has been part of the spine of a Stormers pack that has once again proved its mettle in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, even when the defending champions haven’t had the likes of Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe available.
During a press conference on Monday, Stormers forwards coach Hlungwani explained how they have got the best out of a player that was considered to be a risky signing last year.
“What was crucial was that when we sign a player, it means we back him and believe in his abilities,” Hlungwani said. “The first thing I said to Joe, is you have to have a strong heart.
“Numbers don’t lie. Sometimes one skew lineout or overthrow can overshadow the fact that you only miss two out of 42. If I was a spectator I would also probably look at the two misses. Joseph has done well and the numbers show it.
“The key thing is that he must back himself. I’m not concerned by one or two bad throws. The big picture counts and that helped him relax and understand that he fits into the picture. We just want everyone to be themselves and enjoy their game, That’s helped him improve other parts of his game as well.”
Hlungwani said that instead of the Stormers tailoring their lineout to suit Dweba, or trying to change anything about the hooker’s throwing technique, they have instead backed him to hit the target more often than not.
“We havent changed our systems since Joseph got here. I watched him at the Cheetahs and was comfortable that he could throw. What people don’t know is that Joe has an unorthodox technique. People have tried to change it. We told him to throw the way he wanted as long as it finds the target.
“We back his technique. We are comfortable with it and he is comfortable because we embrace it. We do well with dealing with people who do things differently. That has been the difference. We have allowed him to be himself.”
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