“Yes, I Am Feeling Buoyant About What We Have Achieved” – John Dobson


The DHL Stormers were this week named the SA Team of the Year. Head coach John Dobson said that it is an acknowledgement of what the boys achieved on the field, however, he added that the success extends beyond the players.

"We have coaches and a management group that gives so much and adds such value. I always talk of us being a group and not a team in which 15 start and finish a match. The honour of Team of the Year goes to that group and to the best support base in world rugby."

"We took a young squad to Belfast and I took plenty of positives from how the forwards, in particular, scrapped for the 80 minutes. The average age of the pack that finished our match against Ulster was 22," Dobson said.

"Perspective is so important when assessing a season in which we are playing in two competitions and managing national player game time and introducing so many young guns to the league."

"We currently are second in the league and will host Harlequins in the last 16 of the Champions Cup. If you had given me that scenario before the season started, I would have been gracious in accepting it and I would have been in a buoyant mood."

"So, yes, I am feeling buoyant about what we have achieved so far this season, and that is not to be interpreted as feeling bullish or arrogant."

Dobson said that he was impressed by the Cell C Sharks against Edinburgh. "To get the win was huge and their defence for the last seven minutes showcased the character of their players. They refused to lose, and they repelled every home team attack. They held their shape so well and that took discipline, but it also showed the desire of the players to win."

"I have respect for every team we play, but there is always that extra edge when we go to Durban or they come to Cape Town. Many individuals over the years have played for both franchises and the coastal rivalry is real."

"They’re a good bunch of okes and the players from both squads get on well and many are mates from playing at the Springboks.
Half the pack, at its strongest and when all the Boks are available, have worn a DHL Stormers jersey and our lock Ruben van Heerden will get his first taste of playing against his former teammates."

"The afternoon kick-off of 14h00 is also very different to an early evening match in Durban, where the humidity can turn a rugby ball into a bar of soap."

"Both teams have an attacking mindset, which doesn’t mean either is lacking defensively. So many of our league victories in our title-winning season were on the back of defence and I have already mentioned the defensive effort of the Sharks to get the win in Scotland."

"Several top Springboks won’t feature in Saturday’s match because of the national resting policy and game time player management, but there is a lot of quality in the line-ups of both teams."