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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Leadership group ‘stepped up’ when the Stormers needed them most

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Cape Town – There sure are a lot of work-ons, but for Stormers head coach John Dobson, the leadership that shined through in their United Rugby Championship (URC) game against Edinburgh was one of the biggest positives.

The defending champions overcame a poor first half and two yellow cards, plus a red, at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday to secure their second bonus-point win in as many matches.

In the first half, the Scottish side were in complete control of the game as they dominated territory and possession, while their scrum was also a strength.

But with all the good they did in the first 40, the fact that they didn’t fully capitalise on their opportunities was something they will, no doubt, want to address.

The Stormers’ sturdy defence played a big part in Edinburgh not being able to convert their pressure into points.

While their defence was about the only real positive in that first half, the hosts drastically turned things around in the second half to soar to a 34-18 victory despite playing with 14 men for large chunks of the game and losing Sazi Sandi to a red card in the 74th minute.

“It was amazing leadership (Saturday),” Dobson said after the game.

“I have to give Marvin (Orie) and his leadership group credit for the way we got back into the fight. Edinburgh really brought it.

“We didn’t expect that, I must be honest. We didn’t prepare the players properly for that forward thrust. We thought it would be more all-court.

“To stand up and get off the canvas like that was really special. It echoes last season. We didn’t hit our straps, but when we get more possession – which comes from discipline – then we will get better.”

Dobson went on to say that their slow start to the contest had a similar feel to some of outings last season.

While some of their Springboks returning might have played a role in the men in blue and white not finding their rhythm early on, Dobson seemed fairly confident that it’s something that will improve with time.

“The game feels like last season. The only thing perhaps which I flagged, we didn’t work hard at the start of the game, which is unlike us.

“As (captain) Marvin pointed out, we paid a bit of rent (Saturday). Joseph (Dweba) hasn’t played much, Neethling (Fouche) hasn’t played much, Salmaan (Moerat) hasn’t played much.

“I don’t think we must read much into it. We will be much better for it.”

The Stormers will now go into their overseas tour, which will start with a clash with Zebre in Parma on Saturday.

@WynonaLouw

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