Stormers' second-half show leaves 'bitter taste'
REACTION: Stormers need to eliminate their soft underbelly after their win over Dragons on Saturday.
The United Rugby Championship title holders recorded a 34-26 win over the Dragons at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Round nine.
The Stormers started the historic match in fine form, racing to a 28-7 lead at the break and were well on their way to a comfortable victory.
However, the Cape Town-based franchise struggled in the second half as the Welsh side scored three tries adding 19 points to their tally, while the South Africans only had two penalties to show for their efforts.
This is the second week in a row that Stormers found themselves in a concerning predicament in the second half. Last week against Scarlets they held a commanding 29-7 lead at the break before the Welsh side outscored them two tries to one in the second half.
Speaking to reporters after the match against Dragons, Stormers head coach John Dobson said he is not that concerned.
“I am not worried,” Dobson said when asked about the second-half performance.
“That was a very poor second half, especially the last 15 minutes. It leaves a bitter taste.
“I suppose that shouldn’t take out from the sort of rugby that we played and the log points that we got. We probably should go and win these games 56-0, but that doesn’t really happen against the quality teams in the URC.”
He added: “I was pretty happy up until the 65th minute. I thought we were okay up until a defensive misread let JJ Hanrahan score that try.
“Our body language went down and we were making poor decisions at halfback in those last 20 minutes. I am very disappointed. We have a lot to learn about how it fell apart at the end.”
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Despite it not being a concern, Stormers will need to move quickly to overcome the second-half slump ahead of their first Champions Cup match against Clermont at the Stade Marcel-Michelin in France.
The coach admitted this trip to France is regarded as a ‘statement match’ for the team from Cape Town
“We are really excited about the Champions Cup. We are actually pleased we are going away and playing at such a famous rugby stadium,” Donson said.
“Think it is a statement game for us. It is a time to show that we as the Stormers should be sitting on the top table of club/union/franchise rugby as the URC Champs.
“So it’s certainly a big game.”
He added: “It will be a massive occasion and we are going to try to get a few things right and not experience with selection.
“We want to wear the Stormers flag with pride and we just want to show who we are and our brand and style will suit us against Clermont.”