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VIDEO: Dobson - 'We are still paying the price'

SPOTLIGHT: Stormers head coach John Dobson admits that his squad can feel the pressure heading into a crucial period of derby matches in the United Rugby Championship.

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The Capetonians head to Durban this week to face the Sharks before they prepare for their next North-South derby against the Bulls in Pretoria on March 2.

The Stormers are in seventh position in the standings with five wins from nine games. However, Dobson feels that his team is still constantly playing catch-up after some big hiccups earlier in the season.

After starting their campaign with wins over the Lions and the Scarlets, the Stormers then suffered four defeats in a row on tour in November.

However, they did manage to steady the ship a bit with home wins over Zebre, the Bulls and the Sharks in December.

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“We put ourselves under pressure by having a poor tour and we are still paying the price for that and it makes these derbies so important for us,” said Dobson.

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“If we want to secure a top eight spot, if we want to talk about where we play in the play-offs and secure Champions Cup [qualification], these are really important games for us.

“We put ourselves under this pressure and we turned the ship around in a sense, but the real test will be over the next two weeks, away against these two teams [Sharks and Bulls].”

Despite the pressure, Dobson believes a top-four position in the standings is well within their grasp.

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“I think that’s our goal. I think for obvious reasons, other than the Bulls, all the teams above us on the log still have to tour South Africa.

“There are no easy wins in South Africa. Not at Ellis Park, not at Kings Park and not here and not at Loftus.

“That log is going to change quite a bit. I think in terms of us and the local derbies and trying to get into the top four, those are very important.

“The match against the Bulls is important in that respect. There is a four-point gap and any game where you are competing with another team on a log is a potential eight or 10-point swing.

“Irrespective of that game, we are still in a good position to attack for a top four [spot], but if we want more than that, both of these games are non-negotiable.”

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