”It’s a bit of a wake-up call for us” – coach Dobson on Stormers loss to Ospreys

The Stormers suffered an unexpected 21-27 home loss to the Ospreys in the United Rugby Championship on Saturday, prompting the Cape-based side’s head coach, John Dobson, to admit that the defeat was a serious wake-up call. Dobson led the Stormers to the URC title in 2021/22, and the following year they were runners-up, but he described Saturday’s home defeat at the hands of the Ospreys as his side’s “worst performance”.

“We lost to the Lions here (December 2021), but we were utterly dominant in terms of possession in that game. We knew the Ospreys had the fight in them. They have done some remarkable stuff this season with a small squad and with all the Welsh issues, so firstly credit to them. But regarding our performance, I am really sorry about that and can only apologise. It was poor,” admitted Dobson.

“Losing to Ospreys at home is as bad as it gets in terms of that and that is the truth. Credit to the Ospreys for the way they fought. That is not what we are about. Our losses have been against Munster twice, one was the Final, and La Rochelle in the last two years, so it’s very bad.”

Dobson didn’t shy away from claiming responsibility for possibly wrong selections made in selection.

“I made all those changes for this week and maybe I made a mistake. You ask a Gary Porter or an Adre Smith to go and work and they haven’t played for six or seven weeks. If I stuck largely to the team that played La Rochelle, maybe we wouldn’t have lost… but then we would get into trouble later in the tournament.

“We’ve got to be good enough to beat the Ospreys at home even if we make 10 changes and that is the problem and that is part of the project here. It’s a bit of a wake-up call for us. There is this thing about who we want to be, but that was taking it to the extreme. We’ve got two tight forwards passing to each other on our own tryline. In the first half, we were as loose as can be. It’s a concern and a frustration. I think we coughed up 16 balls today.

“The key thing for us is to go forward down the middle of the field and I thought that was what went wrong. Our message couldn’t be clearer. Dent them first, run direct hard lines and it will all open up on the sides. We are proud of who we are, but that was too loose.

“I am very sorry. I really am,” added Dobson.

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