John Dobson hailed a sell-out DHL Stadium as his DHL Stormers side looks to repay their ‘Faithful’ by defending their Vodacom United Rugby Championship title on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
55,000 fans will flock to DHL Stadium on Saturday evening as the Stormers attempt to defend their title against a high-flying Munster side.
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Speaking after the Stormers finished their captain’s run at the stadium, Dobson said his team had a ‘perfect week’ of training to steel themselves for the challenge of beating Munster for the first time.
While Dobson said that the Stormers are desperate not to let the local fans down at the final hurdle, he was delighted that the decision to keep tickets low had paid off.
“It was a brilliant gesture by the URC. It is so fantastic that the people of Cape Town who have supported us get to come to this game,” said Dobson. “To tell you the truth, we could have sold this stadium out five times over for this game. We could have made ticket prices R1000 and it would have sold out, but the crowd would have looked a lot different.
“It is so brilliant what the URC has done here. In 2016 we played the Chiefs in a Super Rugby league game and it was close to full. Then, in the quarter-final, ticket prices were trebled and the players ran out, but it was a feeling of where was everybody? This is a massively big gesture, it’s fantastic what the decision-makers have done.”
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Having been there and done that last season, Dobson’s Stormers go into Saturday’s game with most of the team that faced the Vodacom Bulls at the same venue last year.
“It’s helpful,” said Dobson. “A wonderful gesture from the URC, there’s a list of the teams who have won it outside. Big names like Anthony Foley at Munster. You go all the way around and there’s the Stormers in 2022. It makes us proud and remember how big this tournament is. It’s a tangible reminder that we have done this.
“The difference is that last year it felt like another local derby. We knew those guys so well. The Stormers vs Bulls is a game that stretches back 80 years. This is brilliant. You have an Irish and European giant like Munster against us.
“Personally, I feel that having been here and in this final before, there’s a bit more institutional knowledge and confidence. The big thing is that we haven’t beaten Munster in the URC, that puts a bit more into it.
“This is much more of a positive pressure,” added Dobson. “I feel like the only pressure on us tomorrow is because the people of Cape Town have bought into the game. It feels much less angsty, this one.”
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