Dobson hails Stormers depth – Sport Fortunes

Dobson hails Stormers depth

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John Dobson says the impressive performance of the DHL Stormers youngsters has given him a good selection headache after the win against the Sharks.

The DHL Stormers – without the services of influential Springbok trio Deon Fourie, Damian Willemse and Manie Libbok – claimed a 25-21 win at Kings Park on Saturday evening.

In the enforced absence of the three Springboks, Marcel Theunissen, Jurie Matthee and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu got starting opportunities, while Suleiman Hartzenberg shifted to outside centre after Dan du Plessis was earlier this week added to an injury list that already featured Ruhan Nel.

That left the Stormers with a relatively youthful backline, compared to the Sharks who were able to call on World Cup winners in Jaden Hendrikse, Makazole Mapimpi and captain Lukhanyo Am.

However, the youngsters took their chance with both hands, Feinberg-Mngomezulu slotting two crucial penalties to help the Stormers come away with a vital win in the race for the SA Shield.

“This is what happens when your second string, like we had in Leicester, plays reasonably well,” Dobson said. “It becomes harder to manage the selections. Loose forward and lock are getting tight for us. We are a bit thin at prop, but Neethling was magic.

“It’s nice to have that sort of depth. I still feel a bit iffy, because I don’t think – and I have to give credit to the Sharks here – we saw the defensive character of the Stormers.

“We weren’t making the reads or getting off the line. To get a win here, the Sharks team really played, they never stopped coming. If we didn’t turn over that lineout at the end, I thought we would be under pressure.

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“Well done to the Sharks. Defensively we were off. Strategically and tactically, there were some really good performances from some of the second-string players.”

Dobson was also impressed with Warrick Gelant’s performance. The fullback had to shoulder more of the tactical load, but showed some of his attacking form of old, particularly in how he set up Paul de Wet’s try in the first half.

“With Warrick, people see the high-profile mistakes, like the pass into touch in Cape Town,” Dobson said. “For us, he’s been good all season in terms of his traditional, positional play and his gamedriving. Tonight, it was nice to see the attacking play.

“I thought he was exceptional. To me, if you took the key job of a fullback – and he’s got a No 10 who is playing his first URC game, it was Sacha’s third or fourth start, Suleiman has only played a couple at 13 – so he was driving that backline.

“It was nice to see him not make any mistakes for the people on social media to say ‘why don’t you drop Warrick?’. He would be my man of the match, if I had a choice.”

Photo: Steve Haag Sports/Gallo Images

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