DHL Stormers get great value in Northampton

PUBLISHED: March 11, 2024

DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that the exhibition match against Northampton was valuable for a number of reasons as his team sets their sights on a challenging home run.

The DHL Stormers scored seven tries on their way to a 45-29 win in an entertaining encounter at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

Although both teams were missing several internationals, the attacking intent shown and good spirit the game was played in made it a great match to watch.

Dobson said that his team ticked some important boxes with a run of home matches at DHL Stadium against Edinburgh, Ulster and Stade Rochelais on the horizon.

“It is nice to get a result in the Northern Hemisphere winter and play an open brand of rugby that is maybe a bit different from the average Premiership team.

“Our intensity, our work-rate and our enjoyment of playing with each other was very important for us and our growth. It is a happy team and a happy changeroom which is important as we tackle what is going to be a very tough couple of weeks coming up,” he said.

Dobson said that considering the players who were missing from both sides, the quality of the match was very encouraging.

“We are very pleased with the experience and the outcome. Obviously we were without the players at the Springbok alignment camp (with one exception) and they were without six or seven internationals, but for us to play like we did against the English Premiership pacesetters was very pleasing.

“Our fluency on attack, the way we used attacking kicks, the turnovers and embracing the travel were all really encouraging,” he said.

The experience of playing against a quality Saints team at a renowned rugby venue was of great value for Dobson and every player who took the field.

“This is one of the bastions of English rugby in terms of being a rugby town with proud rugby traditions and a good team.

“At some stages they threatened to come back at us, but I thought we took it away nicely,” he said.

The only injury concern coming out of the match was around Keke Morabe, who unfortunately twisted his knee towards the end of what had been a highly-impressive first half.

“A guy like Keke Morabe, who unfortunately twisted his kneeand will have to go for a scan, but he got three steals in the 38 minutes he was on and scored a great try,” Dobson added.