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Stormers coaches’ simple message is working for Joseph Dweba

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Cape Town – “We back the players we sign and if we didn’t back you, we would not have signed you.”

That was the clear message Springbok hooker Joseph Dweba received from the Stormers coaches when he started with the United Rugby Championship-winning team this season.

And that backing from his coaches gave him the belief to play his rugby, and throw in at the lineout, in his own unorthodox way without the fear of having to change to what the team wanted.

“My throw-in style is different to other hookers and others are different to mine,” Dweba said.

“But when I got here (to Cape Town), I had a conversation with the coaches and coach Rito (Hlungwani, forwards coach) he told me he wants me to enjoy my rugby again as I did at the Cheetahs, it doesn’t matter what people say out there.

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“We just sat down and had a conversation and he said: ‘Just throw the way you are throwing. As long as the ball gets there, there’s no change to it, just get it to the locks.’”

This simple message seems to have been working for Dweba, who is currently thriving in the lineouts and finding his locks whenever he chucks the ball in from the sideline.

Dweba has already made a massive impression on supporters at Cape Town Stadium, not just with his throw-ins, but with his general play as well.

Every time he scores a try, makes a massive tackle or runs over an opponent, cheers rip through the stadium.

Before he arrived in Cape Town, he had a difficult time in the lineout, especially with the Boks where he struggled to find his jumpers.

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That Test against the All Blacks at Ellis Park last year, as the starting hooker, especially stands out as one where he played like he had the world’s weight on his shoulders when throwing a lineout.

Fast-forward to the current URC season, and it looks like the Bok hooker has found his mojo again, hitting the proverbial targets in all the right areas for his side.

“The coaches were backing me and coming into a championship team like the Stormers was just amazing. The guys are as humble as you’d imagine and it was amazing to fit in here,” Dweba said.

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“Just to contribute where I can, with the little bit of experience I came with after playing in France. It was easy to fit in here.”

This weekend against the Sharks, Dweba’s lineout throws will be important to secure quality possession to get the rolling maul going. He is also licking his lips for the scrum battle against the Durban side.

In their last meeting, he and props Neethling Fouche and Brok Harris demolished the Sharks’ scrum. And after being away from Cape Town Stadium for over a month, the Stormers are eager to play in front of their fans again.

“They are cheering you on every time you do something good,” Dweba said.

@LeightonK

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