John Dobson used poetry to inspire WP in must-win Currie Cup clash against the Sharks
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DURBAN - John Dobson is renowned for his love of English Literature so it is no surprise that he looked to Welsh poet Dylan Thomas to inspire his Western Province charges on their mission to Durban to save their Currie Cup campaign.
Dobson, who boasts a number of educational qualifications, including a degree in creative writing said that he had fired up his players by reading from Thomas’ epic poem “Do not go gentle into that good night”, in which Thomas urges the reader to “rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
“There was real commitment and energy from the guys and they did ‘rage, rage...’ as Thomas said in that great poem,” Dobson said. “I am very proud of the guys. “We played with passion, and we had been badly depleted by injury, so I am proud of the guys.
“Obviously I am cognisant that the Sharks did not have as much on the line as we did but we played with real desperation and pride,” Dobson continued. “We had two flanks at lock, a wing at fullback, a centre on the wing, so I am very pleased.”
Going into the kick-off on a bitterly cold night in Durban — light snow had fallen in the KZN midlands — Province knew exactly what they had to do after Griquas and the Pumas had drawn in Kimberley and the Bulls had well beaten the Cheetahs in Pretoria.
To move from fifth into fourth — essentially swapping places with the Pumas — Dobson’s team had to beat the Sharks and also secure a bonus-point.
Accordingly, WP came out of the starting blocks in a hurry and scored two early tries by Dan du Plessis.
A third try was scored just after half time but with ten minutes to go, Province was still looking for the bonus-point try and also needed to regain the lead after the Sharks had gone ahead when Yaw Penze scored his second try.
But the Sharks made a hash of the restart and Province cashed in on the territory and possession gifted to them, and it was replacement JJ Kotze that hammered his way over to save the day.
“The Sharks came back at us in the second half but we stayed in the fight and we managed to win the aerial battle against them which was very pleasing because in recent games they have had the upper hand over us in this department,” Dobson said.
Having pulled off a great escape, WP now have another daunting task in front of them in an away semi-final against the all-conquering Bulls.
“Ideally, we would have liked a bit of a rest and a break before going up there to Pretoria after having put so much into this game,” Dobson said. It will be a tough ask against a Bulls team that is playing such good rugby but there is pride in this team and hopefully that will get us through.”