Stormers get the job done but Dobson wants more than that
CAPE TOWN – Sometimes you just have to get something done, no matter how it’s done. Sometimes you just have to grind it out.
But listening to Stormers coach John Dobson speak after his side’s 13-0 Super Rugby win over the Bulls, it was clear that the ‘a win is a win’ maxim wouldn’t quite cut it, he wanted more, he wanted his team to do more in front of one of the better Super Rugby crowds this season.
“I’m a bit sad about the occasion. It was the biggest crowd (over 27,000) Super Rugby has seen in a while, so we would have liked to give the fans something,” Dobson said after the game.
And that makes sense.
After last week’s 27-0 victory over the Hurricanes, the Newland faithful had every reason to want to come out and support their team. They scored four tries, kept the Kiwis scoreless and were just really, really good overall. That performance almost had it all.
This weekend, though, came without that excitement and efficiency. While the Stormers could say they had the upper hand in the physical exchanges early on, the errors that crept in throughout is one of the main things the Capetonians will want to fix before their trip to Ellis Park, where they’ll face the Lions on Saturday (3.05pm).
After some of the top tries we saw from the Stormers last week, it was always going to be frustrating to see them struggle to string together a few phases for a good part of the game. And when flyer Seabelo Senatla scored that beaut of a try, the reminder of what they can do when they get the ball moving - uninterrupted - is one that would have caused that frustration to rise.
The positive, though, is the fact that they still managed to score even though they didn’t have the most opportunities on attack and even though the territory and possession stats favoured the Bulls.
And then there was that massive defensive effort in the second half, which kept the Bulls at bay where their tryline was concerned in the last quarter especially.
Dobson has been vocal about wanting to put his back three of Sergeal Petersen, Senatla and Dillyn Leyds to more use, and it would be a big help if that attacking game moves any closer to the end-goal against the Lions this week.
But one area that really needs attention is the Stormers’ goal kicking.
There were a few points left out there as they missed two penalty attempts and both conversions, and in games where every point counts (not like points are ever unwanted or unnecessary accessories), they’ll want Damian Willemse to nail his kicks.
The Stormers will also want to return to the low penalty count they flaunted in their first two games against Super Rugby opposition in the Sharks and Hurricanes, and when it comes to the bench, it’ll be interesting to see whether Dobson goes for a six-two split again, or if the threat of the Ellis Park pitch will see him change it up.
Conceding zero points in two consecutive games is impressive. And while there certainly were things that would have left Dobson a little less than happy against the Bulls, they got the job done, even though it wasn’t a replica of last week’s dazzling display.
Still, though, there can be no doubt that they’ll want to fix what needs to be fixed as soon as possible, while they still have a few games at home before hitting the road.@WynonaLouw