- Stormers coach John Dobson says they got out of jail in their win over the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday night.
- The Cape side overturned a 37-14 deficit in the second half to win 42-37.
- Dobson heaped praise on the Stormers’ substitutes for helping turn the match around.
“That was burglary!”
This was Stormers coach John Dobson’s response after his side claimed a come-from-behind 42-37 Super Rugby Unlocked win over the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday evening.
The Pumas led 37-14 midway through the second-half before the Cape side launched a stunning comeback to stun their hosts.
Dobson told reporters afterwards that his charges were lucky to walk away as victors.
“Probably the only thing we showed was some character towards the end. We were really well beaten, the Pumas were outstanding – they probably left two or three tries out there,” the coach said.
Dobson, however, lauded the character of his players, especially their substitutes.
“We were poor and we were well beaten – [but] you just can’t coach [the] sort of character that came from those guys – all our Springboks were off and it was our next tier that really stood up and I’m really proud of it.”
The Pumas had the Stormers under pressure in the first stanza with their direct approach and the boot of flyhalf Eddie Fouche pegging them back.
The hosts led 20-7 after the first quarter but were then dealt a cruel blow when Fouche injured his knee at a ruck and had to be replaced.
Dobson said Fouche’s kicking game was instrumental in getting the Pumas on the front foot.
“Their kicking game… obviously a horrible injury to Eddie Fouche, I hope he’s okay… they really pinned us back well into our own half and we messed up lineout after lineout. We couldn’t get out of our half, they dominated territory, we were well beaten.
“We were so beaten [up] and we just had to show pride in the jersey because we’re better than that. With 15 [minutes] to go it was still the same story – literally the last 15 minutes – it was a great train robbery.”
Stormers flyhalf Tim Swiel’s boot also proved vital – he converted all six of their tries – and in the end it made the difference. Swiel was a late replacement for Damian Willemse, who was struggling with a minor leg injury.
But it was the Stormers substitutes who left the biggest impression on their coach.
“Yes, they (the substitutes) made a massive difference… Nama Xaba, Neethling Fouche, JD Schickerling – he probably should have started in retrospect,” Dobson added.
The Stormers also lost skipper Siya Kolisi to a knee injury but there was no immediate verdict on how severe the injury was.