Dixon keen to hit new heights with Stormers

Dixon keen to hit new heights with Stormers

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DHL Stormers loose forward Ben-Jason Dixon wants to build on his breakthrough year as he prepares for the first game of 2024 in the Investec Champions Cup.

A born-and-raised Capetonian, Dixon enjoyed a fantastic run as a DHL Stormers regular in 2023.

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The 25-year-old, who first featured for the DHL Stormers in 2020, made 21 appearances in all competitions in the 2022/23 season, featuring in the Investec Champions Cup play-off run and the charge towards the Vodacom United Rugby Championship Grand Final.

As he prepares to continue his momentum in the new year, Dixon outlined his desire to build on a memorable 2023.

“2023 was a big year for me. It was massive,” Dixon said. “That was kind of my breakthrough season. In the first Vodacom URC, I played a bit off the bench after I came back from a knee injury. I got my first start at the end of 2022, in December. Luckily, I got lots of opportunities after that. I made the most of it and am really, really happy about how the year went.

“Going into 2024, I am excited to keep working on my game. There are still many areas that I can improve on. I want to keep making hits, but also run a bit better with the ball and give my team momentum on attack and just sharpen up on a few technical areas.

“That mentality is something that I am personally working towards. To have that attacking mindset, whether you have the ball or not, to go at the other team in any situation. I am very excited to go places with this team this year.”

The DHL Stormers signed off on 2023 with three successive wins at DHL Stadium, against the Vodacom Bulls and Hollywoodbets Sharks in the Vodacom URC and title-holders La Rochelle in the Investec Champions Cup.

“Those three wins were massive for us. Although all three of them were a bit tight, we wanted to make a statement, especially in the last game,” Dixon said. “We worked hard and pulled together as a team. It meant a lot to us.

“We are going into the new year with some momentum, which is massive. Now it’s time to focus. It is getting closer to the business end of the season for both competitions. It’s just important to keep building as a team and to make sure we keep getting stronger as we get to those big moments and matches.”

Up next for the DHL Stormers is a return to Investec Champions Cup action in a penultimate pool stage clash with Sale Sharks at DHL Stadium on Saturday night.

Following a week’s break after three physically demanding games, Dixon says the DHL Stormers are ready to go again in front of the Faithful.

“The recovery has gone well. It was nice to have a break. The body got a proper rest. It was a much-needed break as we go into the game against Sale, helping the guys get the heaviness out of their legs after those big matches.

“We are very excited to play Sale. I think it’s going to be a unique challenge. The team is in a good place for it.

“This is going to be a big challenge. With some other teams, it’s easy to see where they have a soft underbelly. But this Sale team is packed with those hard-working players who give them lots of momentum.

“We will have to be very sharp and go at them, because we can’t let them do what they do. We need to take the battle to them. I am very excited to play against these players. It’s going to be a test. We believe we can do it, but we know it’s going to be tough.”

Sale Sharks boast a pack with a few familiar faces, including former DHL Stormers forward and DHL Western Province captain Ernst van Rhyn.

Dixon is excited to face his former mentor, who has proved to big a big hit in Manchester after leaving Cape Town last year.

“He is a fantastic human being. He is humble and exceptionally hard working. He doesn’t make much of it himself, it goes under the radar, but he’s one of those guys you feel safe and secure when he’s in your team. He’s a leader and you know he’s never going to go away from his work.

“The thing about Ernst, is that he goes about the things that aren’t so flashy with the same intent and vigour. So he’s a special player. The thing I took from him is the consistency and leadership, adding value to a team even though it’s not doing the flashy things. I can’t wait to see him again and play against him.”

Photo: Twitter/@THESTORMERS

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