At Cape Town Stadium
- Stormers coach John Dobson was over the moon with their efforts against Harlequins in the Champions Cup round of 16.
- The Stormers won 32-28 to book their spot in the quarter-finals.
- The hosts led 32-7 before conceding three late tries but Dobson said he was not perturbed by the late haemorrhage of tries.
Despite leaking three late tries, Stormers coach John Dobson was chuffed with his side’s efforts in Saturday’s Champions Cup round of 16 clash against Harlequins at Cape Town Stadium.
The Stormers beat the English club 32-28 to advance to the quarter-finals in their debut season in the prestigious European competition.
The Stormers led 32-7 after 75 minutes, before Quins ran in three tries in the dying moments to add some respectability to the scoreline.
The Stormers defence appeared to fall apart in the final minutes – a complete contrast to how the match transpired.
Throughout the encounter, the Stormers’ win was built on a staunch defensive effort where they kept Harlequins at bay for large parts.
According to post-game statistics, the Stormers made a whopping 137 tackles (29 missed), while Harlequins only made 64 (13 missed).
During his post-match press conference, Dobson made it clear that conceding three late tries was not a blight on their performance.
“It was absolutely superb,” Dobson said when asked what he thought of their efforts. “Everything went according to our plans. A lot of people will [complain] about the last six minutes but Harlequins have come back and beaten Bristol from 30 points down, they’ve beaten a lot of teams like this.
“The game was well won by then… they’re a really good team. They never go away. Our plan was to defend really well which we did. The way we defended… our plan of putting them under pressure at halfback… putting Marcus Smith under a bit of pressure worked.”
Dobson lauded the defensive efforts of skipper Steven Kitshoff and loose forward Deon Fourie, who earned the Player of the Match accolade.
“I thought we slowed the ball down nicely where Deon and Kitsie were outstanding,” he said.
“To be 32-7 [ahead] after 76 minutes is pretty special… our first Heineken Cup knockout game against a team of their quality.
“I thought we didn’t let Marcus Smith get on the front foot too much. Danny Care was excellent, Andre (Esterhuizen) got some runs in towards the end. We won the game so we probably won the key things that we focused on.
“I want to give a lot of credit to Harlequins for the style of rugby that they play. They don’t go away and they’re looking to move the ball… it’s a really, really impressive outfit with their style of rugby. We enjoyed playing against them, it was a treat.”
Stormers 32 (17)
Tries: Deon Fourie (2), Steven Kitshoff, Damian Willemse, Willie Engelbrecht
Conversions: Manie Libbok (2)
Harlequins 28 (7)
Tries: Alex Dombrandt (2), Andre Esterhuizen, Joe Marchant
Conversions: Marcus Smith (4)
Dobson said the fact that the Stormers were 32-7 right before the end was “brilliant”.
“Harlequins don’t go away and the pride they’ve got is a massive credit to them,” he said.
“It was a really well worked try from (Alex) Dombrandt, a fair reflection on the game that, then they get the chip over and then the ricochet.
“We were tired and we had Dan (du Plessis) down, Ruhan (Nel) was down, we had no more subs left and then there was a ricochet. Harlequins deserved something out of that game. Credit to them and their pride. They were chasing that game even though it was lost.”
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