VIDEO: Boks send clear message to Dobbo
SPOTLIGHT: There will be a huge spotlight on the Stormers’ top-of-the-table URC clash against Leinster this week, but the Capetonians will be using the fixture to help them focus on the bigger picture.
That bigger picture is a home Champions Cup Round of 16 clash against Premiership giants Harlequins a week later in Cape Town.
The Stormers’ Springboks, which includes World Cup winners Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Damian Willemse, had the option of staying in South Africa and using the Currie Cup to get ready for the play-off.
However, they sent a clear message to Dobson about their priorities.
“We could think romantically and go try and beat Leinster, but the truth is those guys [Boks] haven’t played for two months,” said Dobson.
“It’s a game that will help us get ready for Harlequins, which will be a great occasion. Whether we go further into Europe, I don’t know. Hopefully, we have 50 000 people at Cape Town Stadium.
“We got a home European knockout, so it will be very special for us.
“We offered the Sharks [Currie Cup] game to the Springboks to get ready, but they said “no” because they really want to get integrated and go to Leinster, which is great.
“I do suspect that we are going to be ring rusty.
“We prepared hard, but Kitsie [Kitshoff] and co haven’t played since the middle of January, so we have to be realistic.
“We haven’t got the home [URC] semifinal yet, so we will probably have to win two of our last three games, but if we can pick up a point or two at Leinster it will certainly help us.”
With the Leinster game happening in Dublin on Friday and Western Province’s Currie Cup clash against the Sharks in Durban taking place on Sunday, Dobson confirmed he will be at both games.
However, he will be sharing the coaching responsibilities this week.
“[Skills coach] Labeeb [Levy] will stay with the Currie Cup team,” Dobson explained.
“We will get to the [Sharks] game – we [Stormers] play Friday night and the other game is Sunday, but Labeeb will run the programme with Shimmy [Hanyani Shimange] and Gareth Wright.
“We did a lot of the prep work already and it is not fair for us to fly in on the day of the [Currie Cup] game and take over from Labeeb, so he will run it, but we will all be at the game in Durban.”
Stormers centre Ruhan Nel will remain in Cape Town this week as he awaits the birth of his first child.