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A season-defining clash for Stormers

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The Stormers won all four of their first games, but suffered a 33-14 defeat to the Blues at Newlands before last week’s bye

Stormers coach John Dobson (pictured) has described their Super Rugby clash against the Sharks on Saturday as “potentially season-defining”.

The Stormers won all four of their first games, but suffered a 33-14 defeat to the Blues at Newlands before last week’s bye.

The result – and especially the performance – came as a shock given the results Dobson’s side had racked up until then.

And seeing as they’ll be keen to get back to winning ways, the next game is a big one for the Cape side.

“It’s a massive game for us, it’s funny how the world can change quickly. In terms of the conference, what happened last week was probably the best thing for us because if the Jaguares start going and we have to go up there to Buenos Aires, it’s going to be tough,” Dobson said.

“This game is potentially a season-defining game for us. The competition still has a long way to go, but it feels like it’s season-defining to us.

“To me our game against the Blues was the worst version of three tries to two, so there has been a lot of introspection into our work rate and stuff.

“Four or five guys have apologised to the team. There must have been an element of complacency that we didn’t pick up. But take it from me, the Blues are going to beat a lot of teams in Super Rugby still. They’re going to be a really good side going into the sharp end of Super Rugby.”

The Stormers’ season is by no means in trouble or derailed after what happened against the Blues. But for the team and for Dobson it would have been particularly disappointing.

Dobson also shared what he’s expecting from the in-form Sharks.

“The Sharks have a massive kicking game and they play a lot off turnovers, their kicking distance and kicking contestables are big.

“Their transition from defence to attack is superb.”

One positive for the Stormers going into this clash is the fact that they are relatively clean on the injury front, bar the long term injuries.

“Ali (Vermaak) won’t be fit this week, maybe next week. Jaco (Coetzee) is fine he just got a knock to his neck. Other than the big injuries to Siya (Kolisi), Pieter-Steph (du Toit), Bongi (Mbonambi) and Ali, we’re fine.”