Cape Town - Speaking after their 18-13 victory over the Bulls in the grand final of the United Rugby Championship, Stormers boss John Dobson commented about how rare it is to have a big goal and to actually achieve it. What a box to tick this is.
The Stormers beat the Bulls for the third time this season with the win at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.
The result also took them to 11 straight URC wins – a remarkable feat given the position they were in before their run of matches at home.
Last year, the Stormers made headlines for all the wrong reasons, thanks to the constant financial and political drama at the Western Province Rugby Football Union, with the union being placed under administration by SA Rugby in October.
Now, as the winners of the inaugural URC, the Stormers have people talking for the right reasons.
After the game, Dobson reflected on how far they’d come.
“It’s an incredible story. I was on a train outside of Venice before that first game against Benetton and we didn’t know what was going to happen.
“Somebody phoned me to say that there was talk of us being pulled out of the URC and that we were going to be replaced by the Cheetahs.
“I had a journalist asking me that question on the train, so it’s an amazing story.”
Dobson went on to share how satisfying it was to have put the smiles back on the Faithful’s faces, while adding that either one of the Bulls or the Sharks could have claimed their Shield-winning position given how tight things were.
Going into the decider, the Stormers chief also spoke about how their objectives changed.
At the beginning of the competition, the goal was just to finish in the top eight and gain entry into the Champions Cup.
As they built momentum, the goal changed. Now, the Stormers are champions of the inaugural URC.
“We were always on the front pages for the wrong reasons and people were disconnected from the team because we weren’t doing well on and off the field.
“It’s not often in life you have a big goal, and you actually achieve it.
“Going around the stadium people were saying thank you, that is so powerful for us. We should be thanking them. To re-establish that connection is absolutely surreal.
“In the Rainbow Cup we were second, we lost to the Bulls twice in the last seconds. In the Currie Cup, we finished second but lost the semi-final to the Sharks,” Dobson continued.
“Likewise, in this competition, it was incredibly tight. It goes down to Ruhan’s try in Llanelli to get us the Shield. It could have been the Sharks or Bulls ending top. I don’t think we were as bad as that or necessarily as good.
“If I could put it down to something, it’s an unwavering work ethic and joy among our players. It’s just a really good group and we got them to believe in what we were trying to do.”
Dobson is now expecting a few investors to come knocking on their door following their success story.
“I think if you are sitting as one of the potential investors and see the product that was out there in terms of the result and crowd, then we are obviously going to be a sought-after investment now,” said Dobson.
“There is no question, people are going to buy into Western Province Rugby, so I’m not worried.”