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Thursday, May 30, 2024

It’s the small paper cuts that leaving a gaping wound on Stormers’ body

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A thirst for revenge will not get the Stormers over the line in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship match against Munster, a replay of last season’s final.

Instead, Ben-Jason Dixon says the Capetonians need to focus on “finding each other as a team”.

The Stormers are into week three of a tour that so far has yielded defeats to Glasgow and Benetton, and the utility forward feels individual errors have added up to hamper the team performance.

“It is the little mistakes that are costing us,” the lock-cum-flank said.

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The finer details

“We are getting some of the details wrong – be it a silly penalty conceded, a poor option taken or a mistake at a ruck.

“When players stray off plan, it has an effect on the team,” Dixon continued. “Fixing those small things is what we have been working on in these weeks on tour.

“We are asking questions like, ‘How do we stay together? How do we find each other on the field? How do we ensure we don’t drift off onto our own pages?’

“These are the things that we need to focus on, not trying to prove a point to Munster. That won’t work. The focus has to be on our improvement.”

There were some out-of-character moments from the Stormers in their 20-17 defeat to Benetton last week, and Dixon reiterated that the players have to pull together to get it right at Thomond Park in Limerick on Saturday. Kick-off is at 7.15pm, SA time.

“We let ourselves down in a number of areas, especially decision-making,” he said.

“When the game got a bit loose in the second half, there were opportunities to score that we did not take – and normally we have put those chances away.

“We train well and we think we have it all right, and then it doesn’t transfer onto the field on match day.

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‘We want to make it happen’

“It is not happening how we want it to happen. We want to find each other on the field and make it happen, but without being over-eager or desperate.”

The Stormers also seemed to be over-elaborate on attack at times when keeping it simple would have served them better.

“Sometimes you try to do many things,” Dixon agreed.

“When we overplay, it is because we have not got dominance at the set pieces or the forwards have not done something with the required intensity.

“That leads to the backs feeling they have to make up for that by doing something extra.

“That is the feeling I get. If we can do the fundamentals right and trust each other, we will come right.”

IOL Sport

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