December 3, 2023

Frustrated Stormer’s face a huge challenge against defending URC Champions Munster

After the Stormers “frustrating” 17-20 United Rugby Championship (URC) loss to Benetton in Treviso on Saturday head coach John Dobson and his coaching team face a huge challenge when they tackle defending Champions Munster in a repeat of last year’s final at Thomond Park next week.

Poor decision-making and a lack of patience on attack plagued the Capetonians against the Italians in a game that they easily could have won had they taken their chances.

The Stormers kicked the ball away in threatening positions on the field with fullback Warrick Gelant the guiltiest party in that regard.

Hooker Joseph Dweba butchered a try-scoring opportunity late in the game when he mistook the five-metre line for the tryline during a driving maul.

Dweba, who replaced Scarra Ntubeni in the second half, could not find his jumpers on three critical occasions which led to the Stormers missing ideal opportunities to score five pointers.

“I think ‘frustrating’ is the exact word,” a disappointed Dobson said afterwards.

“Right at the end of the game, we had three line-outs in their 22, which would have given us the fourth-try bonus point and the win and we butchered it.

“As much as Benetton fought, we really threw it away.

“I think we were very impatient with the ball and there were all sorts of curious decisions with ball in hand with kicking and cross-kicks. Our contestable game was poor, so it was very frustrating.”

The result stung Dobson as it was a game the Stormers were targeting to get the maximum points on tour ahead of a tough fixture against Munster in Limerick.

“We wanted to go to Munster in a position to attack and not be on the defensive. We needed this win. It was one of the wins we wanted on tour, so it is hugely disappointing for us.

“Without playing particularly well, we probably done enough to win it.

“Joseph Dweba at the end thinks it is a tryline. The maul is going and we would have gone over the tryline anyway and that was four more log points.

“It puts a lot of pressure on next week, but we have been in these positions before and we do fight back, but I am very frustrated with this.”

When it comes to the decision-making side of things, Dobson admitted it is a hard aspect of the game to fix.

“It’s a tough one. Do you walk into the changeroom and shout at Mr X for that?

“We will have to go over the game in pretty good detail tomorrow (Sunday).

“Some of our players are X-factor players and we reap the rewards when their things come off and we pay a tax when it doesn’t come off.

“It’s not something you fix like line-out coordination or something like that.

“It is not an easy fix. It is something we have to review ourselves.”

The Stormers also turned down some kicks to poles for line-outs, which could have earned them a draw in Treviso.

“At the end there the score was 20-17 and if we kick it over right in front the score is 20-20 and it’s a draw and it’s good for our psyche that we didn’t lose, but it is only two points,” said Dobson.

“If we got over in the corner it would have been five log points, so we thought we had to go in getting it [the win].

“If it was the tryline like Joseph Dweba thought it was then we would have got five points.

“I’m pretty happy with the decision-making in that respect. In terms of our general game, some of our decision-making was questionable.”

Jean-Luc Du Plessis in action for the Storners against Benetton Photo: Credit ©INPHO/Alfio Guarise

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