John Dobson (Gallo Images)
- Stormers coach John Dobson and his players are “embarrassed” by the 39-6 scoreline against them at Loftus Versfeld.
- The Bulls scored five unanswered tries before the game was abandoned due to a thunderstorm.
- Dobson insists they were not relieved to get off the park early, saying they’re “a very proud team”.
Stormers coach John Dobson says they were left “embarrassed” by the scoreline in their Super Rugby Unlocked encounter against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday night.
The Bulls led 39-6 when the game was called off due to a thunderstorm, with the hosts credited with a bonus-point win as the match had gone past half-time.
For Dobson and his charges it was a night to forget, with the Bulls running in five tries to leave the visitors shell-shocked.
“Credit to the Bulls, they put us under a massive amount of pressure. We just made mistake after mistake,” a dejected Dobson told reporters in a virtual media briefing afterwards.
With the scores level at 6-6 after the first quarter, the game appeared on a knife edge before the Bulls stunned the Stormers with four quick tries to take a 32-6 lead at half-time.
Dobson paid credit to the Bulls for putting his charges under pressure and said the game was decided in the period before the break.
“They put us under pressure in the air, we lost a lot of those contestables, their maul was really effective. We defended their mauls really poorly. We just made mistake after mistake, that’s the result of being under pressure.
“I thought our body language was poor, we looked tired up here. When you concede two or three tries in a row the pack takes shots and they looked tired. We were frustrated with our body language.
“I think we did show some character after half-time, [but] the guys are very disappointed and we were embarrassed, including myself.”
Dobson, though, appeared irked when asked if they were relieved that the game was called off early.
“I’m only referring to that period in the first half when they scored three back-to-back tries – we looked tired then,” he responded.
“I thought in the second half our body language was good, we played with much more energy, the guys wanted to get back out there. You must understand, this is a very proud rugby team with some really good players.”
As they waited for the storm to clear, Dobson said the players were eager to get back on the park.
“The players absolutely wanted to get back out there to try and redeem some pride. They set themselves a target for how many tries they wanted to score to redeem pride. It’s a very proud team and we definitely wanted to get back on the field. We feel embarrassed by that scoreline and how we played.”
Meanwhile Dobson’s counterpart, Jake White, was understandably chuffed by the efforts of his team.
“The first 40 minutes was probably the best we’ve played in a long time, considering the opposition we played against,” White said.
The former Springbok mentor said he was particularly pleased that both his forwards and backs had played their part.
“The thing that I enjoyed the most is the continuity and the interplay between backs and forwards.
“It wasn’t a case of just playing with our forwards, although I must say I think our forwards were outstanding… the way they scrummed and the way they mauled… it definitely set up a platform for the backs to play… but I definitely enjoyed the interplay between the backs and forwards.
“Some of the touches and some of the offloading was really pleasing.”