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Dobson pleased with Stormers' performance, despite injury concern

REACTION: Stormers coach John Dobson has put a positive spin on his team’s weekend excursion to Premiership leaders Northampton Saints, but admitted they have at least one injury concern as a result of the sortie.

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The Stormers scored seven tries on their way to a 45-29 win against the Saints in an entertaining exhibition game at Franklin’s Gardens.

Outscoring the Premiership pace-setters by seven tries to five, there were plenty of positives to take from the game.

However, Promising No.8 Keke Morabe ‘twisted’ his knee in the first half and will require scans to determine the extent of the injury.

In the 38 minutes he was on the field he scored a great try – a 50-metre run from a midfield ruck – and also managed three turnovers.

The win was the perfect remedy for the Stormers after their (22-40) United Rugby Championship loss to the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld the previous week.

“I know it is not the same competition or level of importance, but it was a very good experience,” Dobson said, adding that it was a ‘happy change room’.

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“That is important, as we tackle what is going to be a very tough couple of weeks,” he said of encounters with Edinburgh and Ulster (home matches in the URC), as well as a Round of 16 Champions Cup face-off with French giants and two- time defending champions Stade Rochelais.

“We are very pleased with the experience and the outcome,” Dobson said of his team’s impressive win this past weekend.

Dobson admitted that the Saints were without seven of their England internationals and the Stormers – except Suleiman Hartzenberg – did not have their Springbok alignment camp players.

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The home team was without the likes of Alex Coles, Fraser Dingwall, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Alex Mitchell, Fin Smith and Tom Pearson – who were all part of the wider England training squad and did not feature at Franklin’s Gardens.

Furbank (fullback), Freeman (left wing) and Mitchell (scrumhalf) all starred in England’s dramatic 23-22 win over Ireland at Twickenham at the weekend/

The Stormers were without alignment camp players like Neethling Fouche, Andre-Hugo Venter, Salmaan Moerat, Evan Roos, Ruben van Heerden, Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Herschel Jantjies, Manie Libbok and Damian Willemse.

Two-time World Cup-winning prop Frans Malherbe (working his way back to full fitness) also did not travel to England.

“For us to get that outcome [win] and play as we did – the fluency, attack, attacking kicks and turnovers – was very pleasing,” Dobson said.

Some members of the Stormers squad only arrived in London the day before the match.

“It is one of the bastions of English rugby – a rugby town with proud traditions.

“Happy to get the win, after they came back at us. We managed to take it away nicely at the end.

“Our intensity and workrate were impressive and it was very special for us.”

Apart from Morabe’s impressive showing before his injury, other players who impressed Dobson were centre Wandisile Simelane, flyhalf Jurie Matthee, flank Junior Pokomela, locks Connor Evans and Gary Porter, as well as the scrum power of Sazi Sandi.

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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