John Dobson: Stormers want to make Cape Town proud again

Dylan Coetzee
Stormers coach John Dobson looks on during a preseason training session.

Stormers coach John Dobson said his side is looking to make the people of Cape Town proud again as they begin their United Rugby Championship title defence against Connacht in Stellenbosch this weekend.

The Cape-based side defied all odds last season, putting together a sensational run in the latter stages to claim the inaugural URC title by beating local rivals the Bulls in the final.

First trophy

The win was a landmark moment in the club’s history, being the first piece of silverware in the Stormers’ history.

Dobson is a Western Cape local and is heavily connected to the area and its rugby culture – something he wants to do justice for again this season.

“I have been blessed and privileged to be raised in the Western Cape and I have an appreciation and understanding of the incredible rugby culture in our region,” Dobson said.

“Doing this rugby culture justice is at the forefront of our thinking as a playing and management squad,” Dobson said in a message to the fans.

“We want to make ourselves proud, but we also want the people of the Western Cape to be proud of what and who we represent.

“The Stormers had an amazing home run in the United Rugby Championship earlier in the year and to be the inaugural winners is something that can never be taken away from us.”

The URC champions earned qualification for the Champions Cup and will now have to navigate the challenges of competing on two fronts this season.

“We will look to build on that winning momentum in a new season that offers so much opportunity and adventure. Never before have we had to play a senior squad in two such high-profile competitions like the URC and the Champions Cup.

“The two dovetail in scheduling and the demands will be very different for both competitions, as will the opposition, with us grouped with English and French teams in the Champions Cup,” said Dobson.

“The nature of the season’s schedule is such that several of our current Springboks are not available at certain times, but what this does is provide an opportunity for younger players, as well as those more experienced players who are second in the pecking order to the established Boks.”

Producing Springboks

Dobson outlined that a goal of the club is to produce Springbok players and to win silverware in the process.

“The Stormers also want to produce Springboks. We want to win titles. We showed last season we were capable of that, and our challenge is to continue to match that standard.

“Last season showed what a massive bond there is with the people of the city, province and region and the Stormers. It is something that can’t be manufactured. It simply is there.”

The Stormers opted for a unique preseason that saw them play games across the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, including a clash against the Sharks on the Siya Kolisi field at Grey High School in Gqeberha.

“It was important for us as a leadership group to take the boys on an ‘old school’ type of preseason,” he said.

“We travelled by bus, enjoyed so much time together off the field and shared two very enjoyable match-day experiences against South Western Districts and the Sharks.

“There was plenty of bonding off the field and equally there were encouraging on-field elements in our two matches.”

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