DHL Stormers hooker Joseph Dweba is enjoying the backing he is getting in Cape Town and gathering more and more momentum as the season unfolds.
Dweba has scored four tries and started 11 of 12 matches in all competitions for the DHL Stormers after joining the inaugural Vodacom United Rugby Championship winners from French Top 14 side Bordeaux-Begles this season.
The front-row powerhouse endured a trying time at Bordeaux last season where his game time was limited, but the 27-year-old has credited his red-hot form in 2022/23 to the unequivocal support of his new teammates and the DHL Stormers management.
“Before I even signed it was one of the assurances Dobbo gave me that he backs me 100 percent, and it’s one of the reasons I came back to SA, to want to play for him,” Dweba said.
“He knew that while I was in France things weren’t going that well but he said he knows the type of player I am, the standards I have and the quality of player I am and what he has in me.
“That backing is showing now and I really appreciate it … it’s just amazing for me.”
Dweba is also relishing pitting himself against top-tier opponents as part of a formidable DHL Stormers pack that features world-class props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe.
“We have a very good bunch of players in South Africa, so I’m just glad we can showcase our talent out there, getting to compete against the best of the best, and that improves us as players.
He added: “We wouldn’t be the solid front row we are if we didn’t have our back five, and at the end of the day, it’s an eight-man effort in the pack, with the reserves coming on, and with the backline as well. It’s all 23 of us in fact.”
After Sunday’s bonus-point win over London Irish in Brentford, the DHL Stormers need just one point from their Pool A rematch in the Heineken Champions Cup against ASM Clermont Auvergne at DHL Stadium on Saturday to seal a maiden playoff spot in the competition.
Dweba’s knowledge of the French scrum culture stands the DHL Stormers in good stead for a famous result in Cape Town, and to exact revenge for the first-round defeat in Clermont.
“Discipline cost us a little bit and we ended up losing the game, but we took confidence from that knowing we can compete with overseas teams, especially French teams,” he said.
“Yes, we slipped up but from our own mistakes and hopefully this weekend we can fix up those errors and just keep on improving.
“Before we played against Clermont I told them that the French are quite proud of their scrums … big boys, big ball-carriers … just passionate. But if you look at the first half against Clermont, we were actually stopping them; we were in the game up until the 60-something minute.
“But the little bit that I can share, and Deon Fourie was also there, we actually told the guys everything about what to expect.
“We’re happy to be back and in the sun, playing in front of our home crowd again. We missed them a lot being away for two weeks.”