Canes were ‘mean-spirited’
John Dobson’s team kept the New Zealanders scoreless last Saturday as they bagged maximum points and got their 2020 campaign off to a perfect start. What made that performance even better - the tries, the defence, the set-piece and the full-80 effort aside - was how the hosts managed to retain their focus despite a number of niggly contributions by the Hurricanes, contributions that would have frustrated even the calmest of souls. And “niggly” is putting it mildly.
Stormers captain Siya Kolisi was the biggest victim of the Kiwis’ off-the-ball antics.
Kolisi left the field with a knee injury in the 24th minute after Canes hooker Ricky Riccitelli tackled him without the ball, an act that will now see Kolisi sidelined for at least six to eight weeks.
Bok hooker Bongi Mbonambi also suffered an injury in the game, and although his at least wasn’t as a result of the opposition, he could be out for between two to six weeks.
Dobson was of course happy with the result of the game, but there is no doubt that the Hurricanes’ attitude wouldn’t have pleased him. To make matters worse, none of the Hurricanes players involved in the incidents have been cited.
“I thought that was a mean-spirited game,” Dobson said.
“That was not good for the tournament going forward. It had nothing to do with the referee. It was very subtle stuff. But after reviewing the game a number of times, we got more and more angry.
“I think Pieter-Steph (du Toit) went through quite a hard time. There was one movement where Seabelo’s hair was pulled, twice. We weren’t happy with that game at all, we weren’t happy with lots of stuff that happened on the field.”
Dobson made it clear that the referee wasn’t to blame for what went down on the field at the weekend, while he also added that if his Springbok-heavy pack continues to be targeted in Hurricanes style, things could get tough.
“I must say that Jaco Peyper worked really hard in that game. We’ve chatted to (Sanzaar head of referees) Lyndon Bray. I don’t think it was a match-official issue, I thought they were excellent,” Dobson said.
“If this becomes the general trend of the competition, then I would be very worried. It was disappointing. If you have a Pieter-Steph du Toit, who is World Player of the Year, and the way of dealing with him is cheap shots, then it is a problem.”
The Stormers next face the Bulls in a massive north-south battle at Newlands on Saturday (5.15 pm kickoff).