Dobson feels Stormers have plenty to build on

Stormers coach John Dobson. | BackpagePix

Stormers coach John Dobson. | BackpagePix

Published Jun 10, 2024


Leighton Koopman

It was a disappointing end to the United Rugby Championship (URC), but the Stormers still feel their season wasn’t all doom and gloom.

After going down 27-10 to the Glasgow Warriors in Scotland on Saturday evening, head coach John Dobson believes the campaign yielded some success they can build on.

They played without three key Springboks in their first away knockout encounter in the tournament and failed to adapt to the conditions, allowing the home team to pull away late in the game to seal it. It is the first time in the URC that the Stormers do not make it past the quarters.

With the score 13-10, and with the wind at their backs, Dobson felt his side were still in the game, but errors and their inability to use the wind to their advantage stopped them from overhauling the Warriors.

"I am disappointed because I felt with the wind behind us at 13-10 we could've closed it out," Dobson said.

"But a staggering scrum (penalty) against us and they got on top of us. In these conditions, you need to be really good at playing against the wind.

“We didn’t kick and play particularly well with the wind, which is always a challenge. But you can't fault our physical effort and staying in the fight.

"It did not feel like a 27-10 game, but at the end, we were chasing (the game)."

Flyhalf Manie Libbok missed four attempts at goal off the tee, and although the Stormers did tinker with changing the kickers and bringing Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu in, the youngster started cramping around the 45-minute mark and had to be subbed off.

After they scored two well-worked tries in the time captain Salmaan Moerat was in the sin bin for a head clash in a tackle, the Cape side should have kicked on.

While Moerat's yellow was the correct call, the head contact in the air on Stormers fullback Warrick Gelant by Glasgow captain Kyle Steyn early in the game, that only resulted in a penalty, did not sit well with the visitors.

"We were absolutely perplexed by the game. We will be having some discussions with Tappe (Henning, URC referees boss) about that. It was disappointing.

"I don't want to sound like a sore loser, but Frans Malherbe was standing on the sidelines and said he never saw a penalty like that. And that is the scrum penalty that eventually led to their try which got them away. That was a big call.

"But we were quite poor in attack with one-off runners, and we lacked another receiver outside of Manie. The forwards didn't carry as well as we would've liked into the wind. It didn't look like we would penetrate so credit to Glasgow's defence."

The Stormers will look back on a season where they've blown more cold than hot, but ending their third URC campaign in fifth place is not all doom and gloom.