Stormers refuse to let travel arrangements drag them down

Head coach of the Stormers John Dobson. | BackpagePix

Head coach of the Stormers John Dobson. | BackpagePix

Published Jun 4, 2024


Leighton Koopman

The Stormers players and staff will travel in three to four groups and will only get together on Thursday for a first training session in Scotland ahead of Saturday’s United Rugby Championship (URC) quarter-final against the Glasgow Warriors.

It’s not an ideal situation, as described by head coach John Dobson, but the Cape side remain optimistic about their chances at Scotstoun Stadium (kick-off 8.35pm).

“It is challenging,” Dobson said yesterday of their travel arrangements.

“We didn’t know where we were going until Saturday evening. But SA Rugby has been very helpful in giving us some better-quality seats.

“The truth is as a touring party, some of the guys left at 1pm today and another group will leave at 1pm tomorrow. Some will even go on Wednesday night. It limits your training time ...

“We are not all hopping on a plane tonight. So the players’ maturity, taking this all on board and understanding the plan is really important given our reduced (training) time.

“There’s not much we can do when we get there Thursday. But we have become used to it over the last two tours where we left (Cape Town) late. But it is a challenge.”

According to Dobson, they have unfinished business in Glasgow, and the clash between fourth and fifth on the log is maybe the fairest of the knockout matches.

The former URC winners haven’t won a match at the Scotstoun Stadium and they are eager to rewrite that bit of history come Saturday evening. But they also know it won’t come that easy.

The home team has an array of threats across the park the Stormers will have to contend with. And there is the home support that will be equally intimidating.

“It’s a record we want to put straight. We’ve had two really tough games there where things haven’t gone our way. But this is where we deserved to be and they play a nice brand of rugby.

“They are loaded with Scottish internationals. We’ve embraced playing overseas after losing that Ospreys game at home and have spoken about it a lot.

“That is why there was a massive emphasis on our last tour. It’s an important part of our growth, to win the type of games coming up this week.

“We were a bit thinned out last time we went there in November. I know Damian (Willemse) and Deon (Fourie) are not there, but personnel-wise, and looking at the squad’s evolution, we are considerably better than when we were there last time.

“I do think we are better equipped for this trip.”

A win this weekend will see the Stormers progress to the semis where one of Munster or the Ospreys will be waiting on them. Should Munster win, the Cape side will travel to Ireland directly from Glasgow.

But a win for the Ospreys will see them return to Cape Town for a semi-final at Cape Town Stadium.