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Dobson's ultimate mission as DOR

SPOTLIGHT: The Stormers will be one of the elite clubs in the world, newly-appointed Director of Rugby John Dobson stated.

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Speaking to the media in his new role for the first time, Dobson revealed his bold vision for the franchise following the recent equity deal.

In recent years there has been a lot of uncertainty at the Cape Town-based team. However, since the Red Disa Consortium concluded its equity deal to secure a controlling shareholding in Western Province Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd a fortnight ago there has been a sense of security and structure in the boardroom.

The development resulted in the immediate appointment of Johan le Roux as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Dobson as the Director of Rugby.

“The title doesn’t really change anything,” Dobson told reporters after the Stormers’ 13-7 win over Ulster in Round 13 of the United Rugby Championship on Saturday.

“It is just about me being responsible for the rugby program in terms of the new ownership. We will have guys in charge of the pathways.

“I’m not going to be the classic director, who will step back and step into the office. I really want to stay close to the team because that is my core job.

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“I think if we don’t do that there is a danger that the environment will change and we have quite a nice environment at the moment so I want to take responsibility for that.

“But there are people that are going to help with the pathways, the player welfare and the performance, so my role practically won’t change.”

Having led the team to the inaugural URC title in 2022, and a URC Final the following season, Dobson has no doubt that the financial backing and stability will propel them to become an elite club team just like Leinster and Crusaders.

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“We want to be at the top table of World Rugby,” Dobson said.

“If you think where we are now, fifth on the URC table, we played two URC Finals. We were in this season’s Champions Cup group of death and came out of it hosting a last 16 game.

“Crusaders despite playing across the ocean (Southern Hemisphere), Leinster, La Rochelle and Toulouse are the top clubs in the world and we want to sit at that table.

“Whether  it’s top 10 or top five, but that is where we want to go.”

Dobson conceded that the Stormers’ ability to manage resources effectively will be crucial in executing the plan to become one of the best.

“With our talented players, the amazing people that support us, the [Cape Town] stadium, the organisation that is on secure ground and a player base, we can get that.

“Le Roux [CEO of Stormers] said we are not going to go out and hunt and buy ‘Galácticos’, we just need to keep this team together, build cohesive we can get there.

*Related! VIDEO: We’re not a big-money team of ‘Galácticos’.

“We have beaten La Rochelle at home [21-20 in December], we going to get a home play-off in some form in the URC, so it’s not a lofty pipe dream.

“We are URC champs, URC finalists and we are at the sharp end this year. We are playing La Rochelle.

“It is such a big team, it’s not mine or Red Disa or the players, is is the supporters and just in terms that we should be there.”

He added: “We have a very great board.

“Mick Dawson [partner from Ireland and former Leinster CEO] was at the helm of Leinster from when they came from the middle to four Champions Cups, so it massive expertise.

“It is very useful.”

Dobson joked: “I think the old days of me asking to sign players via WhatsApp are over.”

The Stormers will host La Rochelle in the Champions Cup Round of 16 on Saturday at the Cape Town Stadium.

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