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Dobson backs embattled Sazi: 'It was a tough afternoon for him'

Coach points to collective effort of pack as way to redress failings in the scrum

03 February 2022 - 12:57 By LIAM DEL CARME
Stormers coach John Dobson did not want to engage in finger pointing after his team's shortcomings in the scrum in Durban last weekend. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
Stormers coach John Dobson did not want to engage in finger pointing after his team's shortcomings in the scrum in Durban last weekend. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Though the Stormers left Durban having secured a moral victory in their drawn match against the Sharks last weekend, they didn't fly home amid scenes of chest beating triumphalism.

The scrum, arguably the game's most basic measuring tool, proved a source of frustration for John Dobson's team.

Though the side of the scrum that suffered most was obvious, Dobson was loath to apportion blame before the return United Rugby Championship (URC) fixture against the Sharks at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.

Trampled by Ox

The Sharks' Springbok loose-head prop Ox Nché gave Sazi Sandi a working over on their side of the scrum, but Dobson was keen to point out teams stand and fall as one in scrums.

“Sazi was under a lot of pressure from Ox. It was a tough afternoon for Sazi. But what we saw was a huge amount of technical things we didn't get right. We, as a pack, probably let Sazi down a bit. We need to get clarity from the refs — must the scrum go forward from both sides before it can turn? The scrum was swivelling a bit. To put it just at Sazi's door wasn't right,” said Dobson.

Brok Harris, who will play his 100th game for the franchise this weekend, also jumped to the embattled tight-head's defence. “We weren't consistent enough in terms of front row set-up and the back five putting pressure. That is a huge focus for us this week.” said Harris.

Pep talk

Harris, who is familiar with the vicissitudes of scrumming and has assumed a mentoring role at the Stormers, was quick to deliver a pep talk.

“I went to Sazi after the game and said one swallow does not make a summer. There will be things that we will learn from. We can't just focus on the individual, but the pack as a whole.

“There are a few technicalities we worked on this week. We all went though it and came out the other side,” said Harris.

Dobson was unequivocal about their battles in the scrum. “We have to be a lot better.”


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