Stormers coach John Dobson is unhappy with the off-the-ball incidents during which captain Siya Kolisi was injured against the Hurricanes last weekend. DYLAN JACK reports.
The Stormers opened their 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby season with a near-perfect performance at Newlands, claiming all five points and giving the opposition none.
However, the win came at a cost as they lost Kolisi to a knee injury in the 24th minute, while hooker Bongi Mbonambi had to be replaced midway through the second half after suffering a calf tear.
Dobson confirmed on Tuesday that after undergoing scans, Kolisi is expected to be out for at least six to eight weeks. There was a more positive update on Mbonambi as he could miss only between two and six weeks.
The manner in which Kolisi suffered his injury had fans fuming across social media, as it became apparent that he was the victim of a late off-the-ball tackle aimed at his knee by Hurricanes hooker Ricky Riccitelli, who did apologise for the incident post-game.
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) February 1, 2020
In general, last Saturday’s match seemed to be played in a nasty spirit, as it threatened to boil over between the players several times in the second half especially. It was in this period that the Hurricanes lost midfielder Billy Proctor and replacement loose forward Vaea Fifita to yellow cards.
While he refused to blame match-day referee Jaco Peyper, who certainly had his hands full in the game, Dobson was nonetheless frustrated as he detailed that others, including Pieter-Steph du Toit and Seabelo Senatla, were targeted.
‘I thought that was a mean-spirited game,’ Dobson said. ‘That was not good for the tournament going forward. It had nothing to do with the referee. It was very subtle stuff. But when we reviewed the game a few times, we got more and more angry.
‘I think Pieter-Steph went through quite a hard time. There was one movement where Seabelo’s hair was pulled twice. We were not happy with that game at all, we weren’t happy with lots of stuff that happened on the field.
‘I must say that Jaco Peyper worked really hard in that game. We have chatted to [Sanzaar head of referees] Lyndon Bray. I don’t think it was a match-official issue, I thought they were excellent.
‘If this becomes the general trend of the competition, then I would be very worried,’ Dobson added. ‘It was disappointing. If you have a Pieter-Steph du Toit who is World Player of the Year and the way of dealing with him is cheap shots, then it is a problem.’
None of the Hurricanes players involved in the incidents, including Riccitelli, have been cited. In a funny way, this may work to the Stormers’ advantage as the Hurricanes next face two South African conference rivals in the Jaguares and Sharks.
The Stormers next host the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday evening, with the Bulls coming off a narrow defeat by the Sharks in the first round of the competition.
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