Dobbo’s Diary: Home fires burning

PUBLISHED: March 2, 2023

It’s important to reinforce how proud we are as a group of the current home run that we’re on, which exceeds 20 succesive wins in all competitions, and to continue this sequence adds to the motivation every time we play at DHL Stadium.

But we take nothing for granted and a derby is a derby, and a very different manner of clash. Our focus this week is being true to our value systems and simply working hard and showing respect to the Cell C Sharks.

Obviously, our goal outside of adding to the home record this weekend is to put on a rugby show for the people of Cape Town, who – like us – haven’t been to DHL Stadium in a while. Luckily, the news that we have become the anchor tenant means we’ll be playing our rugby there for the next 99 years, so if you do miss derby day this weekend, there is plenty of time to make up for it!

After Saturday we’ve got another three weeks before getting stuck into the Vodacom United Rugby Championship and then, of course, the Heineken Champions Cup knockouts, when we host Harlequins in the last 16.

The break after Saturday allows for the boys to really get stuck in on Saturday, knowing that the bodies will get some form of reprieve and others will align with the DHL Western Province Currie Cup campaign.

However, the challenge each week comes with ongoing education as it is the first time we are juggling playing in three competitions that run in tandem with each other.

It is also a reminder of just what a learning curve this year has been. It has been a challenge – albeit a rewarding one – but it has tested us in every way as a coaching staff when it comes to rotation, rest, and the integration of the current Springboks players.

A lot of effort is being put into making sure we have a successful Currie Cup campaign and the reality of the structure of the calendar year is that some weeks our focus as coaches combines the Vodacom URC and the Currie Cup.

I’ll admit it isn’t always easy but I have found it rewarding working with players from both groups and it improves the accuracy of my decision-making when it comes to selection, especially on those weekends when both the DHL Stormers and DHL WP sides play.

This week has been an enthralling one, working with players across two competitions, and there is renewed energy because of the playing opportunities in the Currie Cup.

We’re very blessed to have the talent we do in this province, but equally the boys work bloody hard, so we’re grateful to have such a culture of hard work.

A big shout-out to all the guys, from the boys who have been with the Boks to the guys coming into the Currie Cup system. And another big shout out to the brilliant support staff, who are constantly grinding to make sure we are as consistent as possible over such a long and packed season.

See you all on Saturday, for a lekker afternoon kick-off that allows you your morning and an evening to have a few pints or that romantic dinner.