Stormers coach John Dobson
Stormers coach John Dobson

Stormers operating at the 'half capacity', says Dobson

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen Time of article published Feb 16, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Stormers boss John Dobson praised his team’s character after they scored a match-winning try in the final minute against the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday to remain unbeaten in this year’s Super Rugby competition.

Centre Ruhan Nel crossed the whitewash after the final hooter had sounded to help his team to a 33-30 round three victory. The Lions had earlier powered their way into the lead after falling well behind just after halftime.

The win was the third in a row for the Capetonians, who also beat the Hurricanes and Bulls, and their first win in Joburg against the Lions since 2015.

“When the Lions scored late on I took the view that we’d chucked this one away,” said a happy and relieved Dobson afterwards.

“But the guys showed some character ... the one thing we have done this season.

“The Lions caught us with their high tempo game late on, but we know they’re always stronger at the end. But, to be honest I felt we should have buried them earlier in the game; we’d created opportunities to score, but failed to convert; that’s my frustration.”

Dobson added his team had yet to hit peak form this year.  “We’re not operating at half our capacity, and that’s really frustrating. I want to see us play more rugby.

“Yes, we’re three from three, but we’re not firing, so I suppose that’s good, that we can still get so much better.”

Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen said his players were “gutted” by the result. The Lions had gone into the game with plenty of pressure on them following an opening 38-8 loss to the Jaguares and an unconvincing 27-20 win against the Reds behind them. But, they produced their best game by far this season and were seconds away from registering what would have been a stunning, against-the-odds win.

“So close, yet so far,” said Van Rooyen afterwards. “It was courageous how the guys fought back; I’m proud of them and the effort. But, that’s rugby and the small margin which is the difference between winning and losing.

“That said, we made a few errors and we have lots of work to do before our next game. Luckily we have a bye next week.”

Van Rooyen seemed to be more encouraged than broken by the result. “The guys are gutted, but the fire is burning inside, and it can only get brighter ... and that’s encouraging for us.”

@jacq_west IOL

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