VIDEO: Stormers must look in the mirror, not at the boardroom
REACTION: Stormers coach John Dobson said his team can’t use the ongoing boardroom drama as an excuse for their poor performances.
However, he admitted his team’s ‘body language’ was poor at times in their embarrassing 6-39 capitulation to the Bulls – in a game that was abandoned just past the hour mark, after a Highveld thunderstorm brought an end to proceedings at Loftus Versfeld at the weekend.
The Stormers have looked out of sorts since the resumption of rugby – sneaking past the Lions (23-17) in fortuitous fashion and edging the Pumas 42-37 in equally flukey fashion in the Super Rugby Unlocked competition.
However, the cracks that those first two serendipitous results papered over became a bust dam wall against the classy Bulls team – who scored five tries without reply by the time match officials decided it was too dangerous for the encounter in Pretoria to continue.
Dobson, in his post-match reaction, was not willing to throw his players under the bus, despite his statement about ‘poor body language’ – especially during a period in the first half when they conceded three tries in a 14-minute period.
He also declined to use the escalating boardroom saga as an excuse for the team’s poor on-field form.
More reports are emerging that the Western Province Rugby Football Union brains trust may well be looking for a way to walk away from the Flyt development deal (of the Newlands and Brookside properties), while stalling tactics are also the order of the day in the ‘negotiations’ with American lawyer Marco V Masotti’s MVM consortium.
Weekend media reports again indicated that the players are ‘unhappy’ about the lack of progress by the union to establish financial security.
However, Dobson was adamant that the team “must look internally” and not at the boardroom saga.
“I can’t talk about what’s deep down in their minds, about their futures,” the coach said, adding: “They were keen to play, prepared and just got beaten by a much, much better team.”
He was adamant he was not going to pass the blame for the poor performance solely onto the players.
“I thought our body language was poor, we looked tired up here,” he said of a period midway through the first half – as the Bulls ran rampant at Loftus Versfeld.
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He spoke of the team’s “character” in the 30 minutes after the half-time break, before the game was called off.
Despite a dominant 32-6 half-time, the Bulls scored just one more try before the game was called off.
“The guys are very disappointed,” Dobson said, adding: “I think we’re all embarrassed.”
He said the Stormers are a “very, very proud team” with some really good players.
He said they will turn their season around.
“The players admitted this isn’t us. There are plans for turning it around.
“I’ve been in competitions before where we’ve had a really unpleasant defeat on the road.
“I think when we won the Currie Cup in 2017, we got a hiding here [Loftus], we lost [to Griquas] in Kimberley, we lost to the Pumas and we won the trophy.
“What matters is the [Currie Cup Final] on January 23 and how we react to this.
“I’ve got no doubt we’ve got the character and the players in that dressing room to turn it around. We’ll be back.”