Stormers coach John Dobson has downplayed his side’s unbeaten start to the 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby season. DYLAN JACK reports.
The Stormers have won all three opening fixtures against the Hurricanes, Vodacom Bulls and Lions and did not concede a point in the former two games at Newlands.
However, they did find things tougher playing in a mid-afternoon kick-off at altitude against the Lions at Ellis Park. Dobson’s side needed a try after the hooter to rescue a narrow win after throwing a 26-12 lead away in the final 15 minutes of the match.
Speaking as his side prepared for a critical conference clash with the Jaguares at Newlands on Saturday, Dobson gave an honest appraisal of their season to date, admitting he was left disappointed with their on-field execution.
‘I did not get the feedback from the players, it was our feeling as coaches with that horrible 10 minutes – with respect, it is like the Proteas and coaching,’ Dobson said. ‘You talk about the heat and the altitude at 3pm at Ellis Park, or you just choose to ignore it. We chose to talk about it. The guys decided to fight against it and maybe in those last two minutes they showed it, but there was a period in those last 10 minutes where I felt that we were definitely managing ourselves.
‘Afterwards, we had a chat with them and they agreed that they had managed themselves. We were very disappointed with the bench that came on, in terms of energy. It was tough, but it still doesn’t excuse the performance.
‘I think we did show character, but I would like us to move beyond character at some stage. The defence is character, scoring that try is character. But we are overhyped in terms of our actual processes and how we are playing at the moment. It is not up to standard. I think this team is capable of better and hopefully Saturday is the start of that journey.’
While three wins out of three may look like the Stormers are building a winning habit, Dobson added that there were still improvements to be made ahead of this weekend’s game.
‘In the context of the results, possibly. But if we look at our performances, no. We did not play particularly well against the Bulls.
‘Often as coaches, you look back and you realise that we weren’t so bad. Because you get so anxious in the coaches box. This one, when we reviewed, was worse than we thought. The work ethic on attack and defence, everything except for set piece.
‘So we need to get better. This is a critical game for us. If we get over this in an interconference game, then we can say that we are building a habit.’
*Follow us on our new Instagram journey by clicking here
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images