The DHL Stormers are a team that ‘belongs to the people’ and play for their Faithful supporters who have a passion for rugby that is unrivalled.
This passion was underlined by the fact that tickets for the Vodacom United Rugby Championship Grand Final at DHL Stadium sold out in less than three hours.
The Grand Final will be the sixth crowd of over 30 000 this season and the third consecutive crowd of over 40 000, with the home quarterfinal and semifinal also drawing the people out to DHL Stadium in their droves.
The Faithful are also an incredibly diverse group of supporters, who come from all walks of life and are united by their love for the DHL Stormers.
This is a major driving force of inspiration for the team, which is something Head Coach John Dobson makes sure they are reminded of regularly.
“We know what rugby in the Western Cape looks like and what it means to the people.
“This team belongs to people across every demographic and LSM. We are trying to build a special rugby place here. If we get it right with our pathways, with the passion we have got as the best supported team, we can make something very special here,” he said.
A local who grew up in a rugby family in Cape Town, Dobson understands all too well what rugby means to the people of the Western Cape and has made it the team’s mission to ‘make Cape Town smile’.
“We sat down after covid and thought about what we were trying to do with the DHL Stormers.
“Last year it was ‘Get Cape Town smiling’ because it was a start. This year it was a bit more emphatic to ‘Make Cape Town smile’.
“Our project is to restore the DHL Stormers to the full pride, to fill DHL Stadium up seven or eight times a year.
“We didn’t expect to be getting 45 000 fans for consecutive games, including a game against Connacht who are not the most known team.
“We have probably got there a little faster than we expected with these back-to-back Grand Finals,” he said.
Reflecting on their semifinal win against Connacht, Dobson said that the team takes great pride in the fact that they represent everyone.
“Those tickets on the West Stand were R300. That’s great and we filled them up, but if you look at those people they are not swanning out of the penthouses of Blouberg or Clifton. They represent our ‘mense’ they are our people.
“There is a police commander who once told me that if the DHL Stormers win, gender-based violence drops that night. You can extrapolate that as far as you want, it’s helluva powerful.
“Once you have got that ‘why’ to get off the ground or make those extra runs, then you are in a special space,” he added.
The Vodacom URC Grand Final at a sold-out DHL Stadium will be another chance for all of us to celebrate the special relationship the DHL Stormers have with the Faithful.