Stormers aim to defend their URC title in style
Coach Dobson wants team to ‘make ourselves proud’ and give people in the Western Cape cause for pride
The Stormers plan to play a brand of rugby that is engaging, entertaining and successful when they defend their United Rugby Championship (URC) title, says coach John Dobson.
In a message to fans ahead of his team’s opening game against Connacht at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Saturday, Dobson says the Stormers want to play rugby that resonates with the people of the Western Cape.
“I have been blessed and privileged to be raised in the Western Cape and I have an appreciation and understanding of the incredible rugby culture in our region,” Dobson said.
“Doing this rugby culture justice is at the forefront of our thinking as a playing and management squad.
“We want to make ourselves proud, but we also want the people of the Western Cape to be proud of what and who we represent.
“The Stormers had an amazing home run in the United Rugby Championship earlier in the year and to be the inaugural winners is something that can never be taken away from us.
“We will look to build on that winning momentum in a new season that offers so much opportunity and adventure. Never before have we had to play a senior squad in two such high-profile competitions like the URC and the Champions Cup.
“The two dovetail in scheduling and the demands will be very different for both competitions, as will the opposition, with us grouped with English and French teams in the Champions Cup,” said Dobson.
“The nature of the season’s schedule is such that several of our current Springboks are not available at certain times, but what this does is provide an opportunity for younger players, as well as those more experienced players who are second in the pecking order to the established Boks.
“The Stormers also want to produce Springboks. We want to win titles. We showed last season we were capable of that, and our challenge is to continue to match that standard.
“Last season showed what a massive bond there is with the people of the city, province and region and the Stormers. It is something that can’t be manufactured. It simply is there.
“It was important for us as a leadership group to take the boys on an ‘old school’ type of preseason,” he said.
“We travelled by bus, enjoyed so much time together off the field and shared two very enjoyable match-day experiences against South Western Districts and the Sharks.
“There was plenty of bonding off the field and equally there were encouraging on-field elements in our two matches.”
In other URC action this weekend, the Sharks kick off their campaign with a challenging match against Zebre in Italy on Friday.
On Saturday, the Bulls face Edinburgh at Loftus and the Lions clash with the Ospreys in Wales.
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