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Plenty to ponder

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“It’s very disappointing and that probably puts a heavier pull on losing to the Sharks today. It’s the bigger picture, I’m afraid.”

STORMERS coach John Dobson would not have felt hard done by had his flank Johan du Toit been red-carded for his reckless tackle on Sharks scrumhalf Louis Schreuder at the kick-off of the Super Rugby clash at Jonsson Kings Park.

Referee AJ Jacobs dismissed the recommendation of TMO Willie Vos that Du Toit be red-carded and instead issued a yellow card.

“I didn’t initially think it was a red card when I saw he (Schreuder) landed on his back. But if it had been a red card, I’d have had no complaints. I sat there in the coaches’ box and just thought, ‘What the hell just happened?’ If he had been sent off, I wouldn’t have complained.”

Diplomatic

Dobson’s Sharks counterpart Sean Everitt was diplomatic in his response to the incident but ultimately made the point that the punishment was on the light side.

“My whole philosophy about rugby is to keep the game safe and maybe that comes from me being a teacher and coaching younger boys at school. I think we can all do better to try and make the game a bit safer,” he said

“We’ll have a look later and hopefully the officials will come up with the right solution. In saying that, we lost a player and it was dangerous, otherwise he wouldn’t have gone off.

“Louis is fine now. He had a head injury assessment which he failed because he was knocked out, so hopefully he will recover because we have a bit of a break now.”

The break is the suspension of Super Rugby because of the coronavirus and while Everitt had little to say about it, Dobson went full tilt.

“I’m not the World Health Organisation (WHO) but because of the reaction to the coronavirus I hope all of this has been properly thought through because it’s going to have cataclysmic effects on some people’s lives. People are going to lose their jobs and that really scares me,” Dobson said.

Having said this and more, Dobson then took the unusual step of readdressing the media after opposite number Everitt’s media conference, this time expressing regret if it had come across that he had disrespected WHO.

“Obviously I am no medical expert,” he said. “I’m sure the right thing has been done and I guess I am just emotional about how serious the ramifications of the suspension are.

“We are not the English Premier League, and I don’t know what the quantum is if Super Rugby doesn’t resume, but I suspect it’s between a R10 million to R20 million loss. I don’t know if we can absorb it as an industry and the players have genuinely got job concerns now.

“We were supposed to play in Argentina next week and I am not sure why 30 players can’t get scanned, stay in isolation and get scanned 48 hours before the game, get cleared and play.

“At least then the broadcasters would have something to show and the media would have something to write about.

“It’s very disappointing and that probably puts a heavier pull on losing to the Sharks today. It’s the bigger picture, I’m afraid.”

Dobson said that there was a “funereal” aftermath to the announcement that Super Rugby is on hold indefinitely, after seven of the 18 rounds of the competition.

“It feels funereal for everybody. I think the tragic consequence of the reaction to this virus is going to see probably more hardships and death than the actual virus, in the way that jobs and the economy are going to be affected.

“That is a major concern.

“I’m not going to lecture you on it but I just feel that this is going to affect poor people in a horrible way and I hope political correctness hasn’t gone too far.

“I understand that it’s about safety, but if you ask our players or the Sharks players to play tomorrow, I’m sure they would all say yes, so yeah, it’s sad.”