Home Sport Dobson prepares for battle of the packs

Dobson prepares for battle of the packs

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The Bulls demolished the Sharks last weekend, and the productions of their forwards was one of the many pleasing aspects in their game.

Stormers coach John Dobson giving instructions to his players during practice. Picture: Phando Jikelo, African News Agency (ANA)

STORMERS coach John Dobson says he’s expecting the scrum and collisions to be the biggest contests for both packs when they take on the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday (kick-off 7pm).

The Bulls demolished the Sharks last weekend, and the productions of their forwards was one of the many pleasing aspects in their game.

They disrupted the Sharks at the set-pieces and really made their presence felt at the breakdowns.

While the Stormers have a number of their forwards on the sidelines, and with Dobson having said that he’s going to have to ask them to play deep into the second half, he was confident that this game could still be a “classic forward fest”.

“We missed Kitsie (Steven Kitshoff) last week, he’s a leader, so it’s very good to have him back,” Dobson said.

“I thought Leon did very well last week for his first game out of Under-21 rugby. Jaco (Coetzee) has been an up-and-coming player for a while now, so the fact that he keeps getting niggles is frustrating. He was very good before lockdown and he’s fit now, so it’s a good opportunity.

“We were much better than last week (during training) – there weren’t those insecurities and there was a clear focus, the guys know that last week wasn’t good enough and that laid the foundation for Monday. We won’t get a better opportunity to restore our reputation than this one.”

It would be fair to say there have been some iffy moments for the Stormers where their line-out is concerned. This was clearly apparent against the Lions and the Pumas.

However, Dobson sees no problem here and explained why it’s not an area he’s too concerned about.

“Our issue to me hasn’t been not winning line-outs so much, but more our delivery – how we would mess up the ball from nine to 10 or how we would mess up a maul rip, so we haven’t really been able to launch off our line-outs. In terms of the actual ball I’m very confident and I’m very pleased with how our maul is restarting, so I think this game has all the makings of a classic forward fest.”

Kitshoff, who missed out last weekend against the Pumas due to Covid-19 protocols, takes over the captaincy from Siya Kolisi.

The Bok captain has been ruled out with a hamstring injury which is expected to keep him out for two to three weeks.

With Kolisi unavailable, Coetzee takes his place in the No 6 jersey, while JD Schickerling starts at lock in the only other change to the forward pack. Hooker Scarra Ntubeni is also back after missing the trip to Nelspruit due to Covid-19 protocols. He has been named on the bench.