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VIDEO: Deon Fourie - the Stormers' Dawg & X-Factor

Stormers coach John Dobson does not believe it was a ‘special’ performance, but Bulls counterpart Jake White is adamant there was ‘X-Factor’ in the 26-20 win in Cape Town on Saturday.

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The Stormers edged the Bulls in a tense and bruising South African derby that lifted the 2022 champions to seventh in the United Rugby Championship – the home team leading for all but 14 minutes of a match played in front of a crowd of 39,927.

Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White gave the unsuspecting media a ‘rugby lesson’, explaining that X-Factor is not just a big-stepping player.

He pointed to the performance of Stormers captain Deon Fourie as the epitome of ‘X-Factor’.

Fourie made six carries, two line-breaks, 19 tackles (only bettered by teammate Ruben van Heerden’s 23) and his usual turnovers.

That grabbed the attention of the Bulls boss.

“X-Factor means he brings something that he is very good at,” White told the post-match media briefing.

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“Everyone is under the impression that X-Factor players are only [those] who wear No.10 and No.15, who run and sidestep.

“X-Factor means you are clever enough not to go into a breakdown, clever enough that when you carry, you get the ball back.

“You also have the body language of a winner.

“Those are X-Factors as well.

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“It is not about bringing in another backline player who can sidestep.

“Look at a guy like [Stormers captain] Deon [Fourie] today – he was outstanding.

“He is not a sidestepper.

“However, he is very good at what he does and that is the X-Factor that you have.”

(Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White explains the true value of X-Factor’ players…)

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Stormers coach John Dobson spoke of the ‘dawg’ in his team, their ability to fight through tough times, as the key to the win.

Dobson pointed to their come-from-behind win (21-20) over French giant Stade Rochelais as a ‘benchmark’ – of a higher standard than most URC games.

“Today [Saturday] we played in a tough derby, but beating one of the toughest teams we ever face [Stade Rochelais] is a good win.

“We did something special last week – which is unappreciated.

“Today [Saturday] we didn’t raise our game to something [special]. It was a par Stormers performance.”

Dobson added that his team showed ‘dawg’ in the win over the Bulls – epitomised in his captain’s performance.

“I said yesterday, we are going to fight [to the bitter end],” he added.

(Stormers coach John Dobson and captain Deon Fourie explain the premium they place on ‘home ground advantage’…)

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The Stormers captain, Fourie, said there is no doubt you still have to “front up physically” to the Bulls, even though they play a more expansive game.

“If you match that [physicality] half of the game is already won,” he told @rugby365com

He added that the ability to get up and keep going in the face of adversity returns to the players caring for each other and the jersey.

He said they do it for the supporters, willing to pay ZAR200 for a ticket when they could spend that on some Christmas cheer.

“We want to make this [Cape Town stadium] a special place,” Fourie said.

“The people must come here and enjoy themselves, enjoy watching rugby and enjoy Cape Town.

“Newlands will always be Newlands, but we are creating something special here also.”

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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