Stormers coach John Dobson is gearing up for the biggest game of his coaching career when his side host the Bulls in the United Rugby Championship (URC) final on Saturday night.
Dobson has been involved in a number of finals, starting from Varsity Cup level, through the junior ranks at Western Province, into the senior division and now with the Stormers, during a superb career that has seen him work from the bottom to the top.
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“It is definitely (the biggest). In all of those finals there was a lot invested, but this one is so much more important than for me as a coach. It is so important for the people of Cape Town to keep them smiling,” Dobson said.
Despite the enormity of the match itself, Dobson claimed it did not really feel like a final, but more like just another clash in the massive rivalry between the two sides.
“It feels like a normal Stormers v Bulls game. The pride of that game is so much for us that the trophy is almost incidental in this case,” Dobson said.
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“It does make us want to win it more and neither team would like to see the other raise the trophy, but it feels like a (regular) Stormers v Bulls game,” he added.
“Proper bragging rights in a South African derby. That’s how it feels.
“I think it would be different if we were playing Leinster or something like that, but there is so much on this game in terms of the history and the rivalry, which is what it feels like.”
Change on the wing
One confirmed change for the match will see Sergeal Petersen coming into the Stormers side on the wing, in place of Leolin Zas.
Zas, who is the tournament’s top try scorer, came off with an injury during the semifinal win over Ulster, and it was confirmed that he would have to undergo surgery, cruelly ruling him out of the final.
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“Leolin is physical. He’s an out and out striker and that’s what you need from a wing. Sergeal is a bit different, he’s played a bit at fullback as well,” explained Dobson.
“I spoke to Warrick (Gelant) on the field earlier and he said he likes playing with Sergeal because they communicate really well together, so it’s going to be a bit different this weekend.
“He (Petersen) struggled a bit in the Currie Cup earlier this season, but in the last couple of games he’s been amazing and he was outstanding this past Friday in Stellenbosch, so he will fit right in.”