I Have Got No Doubt That We Are Going To Be Better – Dobson

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DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson says that he expects his team to perform better than they did before lockdown when they return to action against the Emirates Lions in the second match of a ‘pre-season’ doubleheader at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Following that, the team will take part in a double round of local action over 16 weekends with two trophies up for grabs – Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup.

After seven months on the sidelines during lockdown, the players can’t wait to get going again and Dobson says that having looked critically at every aspect of their game and adjusted their training accordingly he expects them to take their game to another level.

“The way we have trained, other than set-piece because we have only started that lately, my view is that we would beat us from March. The way we are training now is considerably superior to how we were training in March in terms of skill and intensity.

“I have got no doubt whatsoever that we are going to be a better team than we were before,” he said.

The DHL Stormers mentor explained that the fact that they lost their last two games before lockdown meant that they picked apart every aspect of their game and training methods in great detail to try and gain an edge on their return.

“When you have lost two in a row you go really deep, maybe too deep in some ways. We looked at everything, from our culture, training methods, times, recovery systems, territory game, everything has been pulled apart and we are very excited about the changes we have made.

“We have worked probably the most on our kicking and territory game, our kicking system, getting our chase right and upskilling the likes of Herschel [Jantjies] Damian [Willemse] Godlen [Masimla]. That has probably been the biggest part of our game change,” he said.

"Those last two games that we lost against the Sharks and the Blues, one was with 38% territory and one was with 39% territory,’ Dobson said. ‘That big pack – so Springbok-laden – are used to playing in the right parts of the field. That’s where they get their energy from, being close to the opposition’s 22.

"So, they weren’t enjoying that. The way Steven Kitshoff carries outside our 22 versus outside the opposition 22 is two very different carries. That was our biggest takeaway and what we have worked on the most. Our kicking systems, simplifying it, getting our chase right and upskilling the likes of Herschel, Godlen and Damian. That’s probably been the biggest part of our game change.’