Dobson wary of 'unpredictable', 'physical' Blues

    2020-02-26 06:00

    Herman Mostert - Sport24

    Cape Town - Stormers coach John Dobson says the physicality and unpredictable nature of the Blues spell danger ahead of their Super Rugby encounter at Newlands on Saturday.

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    The Stormers currently top the overall Super Rugby standings after starting the season with four wins but Dobson believes this weekend's match will pose a unique challenge.

    "They're quite unpredictable. You can work out the shape of teams like the Hurricanes and Jaguares easily, but this (Blues team) is unusual. They're physical but they're sort of quite off the cuff as well. So, it is a challenge for us, we haven't played a team like this," Dobson told reporters at the Stormers' High Performance Centre in Bellville on Tuesday.

    The Blues started their South African tour with a last-gasp 23-21 win over the Bulls in Pretoria, but Dobson would not be taking too many learnings from a game which was contested in treacherous conditions at Loftus Versfeld.

    "That Bulls game was hard to read into given the conditions, so we don't know what to expect at a dry Newlands," Dobson said, before adding: "For us the big threat there is some of those big carrying forwards.  The way they pick and go is very effective. And their backs are physical."

    After a last-gasp 33-30 win over the Lions in Johannesburg earlier this month, Dobson demanded improvement from his charges ahead of last weekend's home match against the Jaguares.

    In a game with few highlights, the Stormers beat the Jaguares 17-7 at a wet Newlands but Dobson said it was an improved effort.

    "We were really good at the breakdown - we didn't concede a turnover... our phase-count doubled. At Ellis Park we didn't have a phase-count. We're averaging four phases per attack, it's still not high enough but at least there were those signs,' Dobson emphasised.

    He said he expected his side to take another step in the right direction against the Blues.

    "Obviously we want pack dominance, but our game is designed to create space for our steppers, for Sergeal (Petersen), for Damian (Willemse)... and that's where we're letting ourselves down so far. That's what we want to put right this week. Not just to rely on our pack and character. But I think we're getting there."

    The Stormers team will be named on Thursday, with Saturday's match at Newlands scheduled for 15:05.

    READ | Willemse 'trying too hard' but Stormers coach not perturbed

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    Saturday, 11 April 2020
    • Blues v Hurricanes, 06:45
    • Reds v Rebels, 11:15
    • Sharks v Waratahs, 15:05
    • Bulls v Lions, 17:15
    Sunday, 12 April 2020
    • Brumbies v Jaguares, 08:05
    Friday, 17 April 2020
    • Hurricanes v Highlanders, 09:05
    • Rebels v Crusaders, 11:15


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