Stormers prevent another opponent from scoring for second weekend in a row
Although his team shut out the opposition for the second week running, coach John Dobson focused more on the Stormers' to-do list after their 13-0 Super Rugby win over the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.
Keeping a Super Rugby opponent scoreless is a pretty rare feat, and doing so on consecutive weekends is simply unheard of. It was a difficult topic to ignore, and Dobson was pressed on the matter.
“We worked really hard on the culture and character of the team,” said the coach.
“To go two Super Rugby games without conceding a point is an achievement. It was such a nice crowd. We wanted to delight and score more tries and we are disappointed we didn’t. There were too many mistakes.”
Captain Steven Kitshoff was also quizzed on the matter.
“The guys showed unbelievable character in the way we held them out. There was an unbelievable work rate and effort. The guys showed guts,” said Kitshoff.
Dobson was frustrated when his team could not click through the gears, but they were not allowed to so by a highly combative and belligerent Bulls team.
The Bulls travelled to Newlands with every intention of fronting up to the highly rated Stormers pack, and they achieved that objective. The Bulls, according to Dobson, showed no regard for their bodies.
“The ref said it was one of the most physical games he has been involved in. I know it is a cliché but it was a typical derby. There were some shots fired,” Dobson said.
With the highly contested first phase ball, the match was dragged towards a stalemate, but the Stormers always had something extra, even though their kicking wasn’t up to scratch.
Two conversions and as many penalty attempts went wide of the mark. That wasn’t all.
“Our general wider kicking, not off nine, wasn’t our best. We operated on about 30 or 40 percent on attack. We just lacked all sorts of rhythm,” said Dobson.
If the Stormers felt a little constrained by the Bulls and a lush pitch, they have the opportunity to free the shackles when they play the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
“We are looking forward to a game where we have more space and can get more rhythm in attack. The Lions’ aren’t the team they were a couple of years ago.”
“Maybe next week at Ellis Park we will show what we are capable of with ball in hand, and come to Newlands for a massive game against the Jaguares.”
The coach allayed fears of injury in his back row.
There was the rare sight of Pieter-Steph du Toit staying down after 78 minutes. He did, however, complete the match.
“Pieter-Steph is fine, just a spasm. Jaco Coetzee knock to head,” said Dobson.