COMMENT: John Dobson is the perfect lightning rod for his Stormers

John Dobson took full responsibility for how the Stormers got things wrong against Munster on Saturday

John Dobson took full responsibility for how the Stormers got things wrong against Munster on Saturday. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published May 29, 2023


Cape Town — "Maybe I got it wrong."

It's not often you hear a coach admit and take the blame for his team's loss, especially in a big one like this past Saturday's United Rugby Championship final between the Stormers and Munster.

But Stormers coach John Dobson was ready to take the punches after his team failed in their bid to secure a second successive title going down 19-14.

Instead of pointing out the wrongdoings and fumblings of his team, and let's admit it, the team fumbled a couple of opportunities where they could have gotten the game over the line.

Dobson took full responsibility for how they got things wrong.

It wasn't a surprise, though, because that is what he has been doing for the past two seasons during the URC.

When the team is winning, the glory and applause go to the players; how they manage to play a game of attractive rugby, running riot on the field and in the process scoring beautiful tries.

But when there is a loss, like the one on Saturday, it's Dobson who acts as a lightning rod for the team. He is the one who draws the attention away from his sometimes struggling players to make sure that the backlash doesn't get to them.

On Saturday after his team's defeat, he did it perfectly well again.

“Maybe I got something wrong. Maybe we should have changed our game model and kicked more contestables instead of counter-attacking, especially on that pitch. I should've adjusted our game model," Dobson said.

He admitted he got the game model wrong, and that the players merely executed what he and his fellow coaches wanted.

He could've so easily thrown Manie Libbok's charged-down kick in the mix because it was after that error that the game swung in Munster's direction again.

Munster also played brilliantly at the ruck and protected their possession with vigour. In doing so, they shut down flank Deon Fourie's biggest threat.

Dobson could've gone in the direction of blaming the pitch which was in a terrible state and no champagne rugby, what the team is known for, could be dished up.

And lastly, he steered away from any criticism against the referee but praised Andrea Piardi for how the Italian handled the final.

He could've so easily pointed out areas where he felt his team was wronged, especially after that final rolling maul caved in when Munster shirts were going backward toward their tryline as the Stormers looked for that winning try.

He did not make a fuss about it.

He was gracious in defeat and tried to divert all the negative attention away from the players who were on the field, but struggled to handle what Munster threw at them.

And that shows what type of leader and coach he is. And why he gets things right most of the time at the Stormers.


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