United Rugby Championship: Stormers boss John Dobson eager to complete unbeaten year in Cape Town

Stormers head coach John Dobson is eager for his side to finish the year on a high by beating the Lions in the United Rugby Championship on New Year's Eve, completing an unbeaten year at Cape Town Stadium. The Stormers host the Lions in Cape Town, the last team that managed to beat the United Rugby Championship (URC) champions at the ground. Credit: Alamy
Stormers head coach John Dobson is eager for his side to finish the year on a high by beating the Lions in the United Rugby Championship on New Year's Eve, completing an unbeaten year at Cape Town Stadium. The Stormers host the Lions in Cape Town, the last team that managed to beat the United Rugby Championship (URC) champions at the ground. Credit: Alamy

Stormers head coach John Dobson is eager for his side to finish the year on a high by beating the Lions in the United Rugby Championship (URC) on New Year’s Eve, completing an unbeaten year at Cape Town Stadium.

The Stormers host the Lions on Saturday in Cape Town, the last team that managed to beat the URC champions at the ground.

Stormers’ impressive home record

The Stormers bid farewell to their old home, Newlands, in November 2021 and officially moved to Cape Town Stadium.

Dobson’s charges head into their final game of 2022, having not lost one of their 16 matches at the ground in 2022, which included the 2021/22 URC final. However, they do face off against the side that defeated them 37-19 in December 2021.

Speaking ahead of the match, Dobson explained that the initial move wasn’t as fruitful as his side would have liked but a year later and closing on an unbeaten year at their new home, he is eager to finish off 2022 without a loss at the ground.

“That was probably our lowest point last season,” Dobson said, recalling the loss to the Lions.

“We were part of a journey where we all had to transition to playing here after Newlands, and it wasn’t always easy.

“We lost to Griquas at home in the Currie Cup, we lost to the Bulls and Sharks here, and we weren’t sure about the move.

Ending 2022 unbeaten at Cape Town Stadium

Turning his focus to this weekend, Dobson said: “We have gone over 360 days since that game unbeaten, but now we need that Lions game to make it the whole year.

“That’s really important to us, so it will add a bit to this game.

“It’s one more game on New Year’s Eve against the team that beat us quite convincingly here a year ago, so that will be a big driver for us as a coaching group.”

The loss last year was also the Lions‘ only victory over the defending champions in their last seven clashes. The defeat to the Sharks last week also ended a four-game winning run for the Lions in the URC.

The Stormers lead the South African Shield with 39 points, a five-point buffer over the Bulls, and they have a game in hand. They head into the final match of the year in second place overall, trailing Leinster by eight.

READ MORE: Planet Rugby’s bold predictions for 2023

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