Stormers' new lock already making waves
REACTION: Stormers head coach John Dobson had plenty of praise for his forwards after they bullied the Sharks in Durban over the weekend.
The Capetonians maintained their stronghold in second place on the United Rugby Championship log as they registered a convincing 46-19 victory at Kings Park on Saturday, outscoring the hosts six tries to three.
And it was the big guys in the pack that helped lay the foundation for victory.
The Stormers hammered the Sharks at scrum time with Neethling Fouche, Joseph Dweba and Brok Harris in the front row.
There were also plaudits for locks Ruben van Heerden and Gary Porter, who were both brutes in the physical exchanges and on defence. They also gave the Sharks a few problems in the line-outs as well.
It was a big day for Van Heerden, who was making his first start for the Stormers and he was playing against his former team. He also scored one of his team’s six tries.
After losing Salmaan Moerat and Ernst van Rhyn to injuries in December, Dobson believes getting Van Heerden’s signature from the Exeter Chiefs was a masterstroke.
“I am so chuffed with Ruben van Heerden,” Dobson told reporters after the match.
“We would have been in a lot of trouble if we had not got him.
“I am grateful to the union and the administration for bringing him in.
On Porter, Dobson added: “Gary Porter is a Varsity Cup product, but jeepers, he is a lot like Marvin Orie.
“He runs the line-out, and works hard, so I am very happy that we solved that [lock] crisis.
“Erst van Rhyn is back next week, but I am really chuffed with the performance of those guys.”
Dobson admitted he was surprised by the scrum dominance his team had in Durban.
“We thought we’d get the scrums later, but when it happened so early it surprised us.
“Joseph is a great scrumming hooker and Neethling is guy people must start looking at going forward. He is just such a good tighthead.
“I know we conceded one [scrum penalty], but to get four scrum penalties by half-time in the match is massive for us.”
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#REACTION: Stormers head coach John Dobson shares his thoughts on Manie Libbok after that performance in Durban 👇#URC #Sharks #Stormers #SHAvSTO https://t.co/oxXEMUytgd
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) February 5, 2023
Strength in numbers
With several Springboks being rested and some being injured, the Stormers have proven that depth is something that is on the up in Cape Town.
“We won the URC in our first year and our main task this season was to make sure that we build something sustainable,” Dobson explained.
“Before the season, I said that we don’t want to become a one-hit wonder.
“The key to that, especially when you are playing in three competitions, including the Currie Cup, was to create depth.
“Our mindset has changed very much. A while ago, there would have been devastation if Evan Roos or Hacjivah [Dayimani] were out of this game, but then we saw what Marcel Theunissen did out there.
“We have created some depth. I think we got a little way to go in some areas.
“You would have seen last weekend in Belfast that we got a little bit of work to do with the backs, especially when Jean-Luc went off, but in the forwards we got some really nice depth.”