- Stormers coach John Dobson expressed his disappointment at a leaked video of his team celebrating the prospect of hosting a home final.
- The video also featured Stormers hooker Joseph Dweba mouthing off unpleasantries, which has raised temperatures.
- Munster coach Graham Rowntree, however, didn’t read much into the video.
Stormers coach John Dobson expressed his disappointment at the leaking of the Stormers’ celebration video in the aftermath of the Leinster/Munster United Rugby Championship semi-final in Dublin on 13 May.
The Stormers had beaten Connacht 43-25 in the first semi-final and were expecting to travel to Dublin as Leinster were the top-ranked team.
However, Munster turned logic on its head with a 16-15 win that not only condemned Leinster to a second consecutive URC home semi-final loss, but also gifted the Stormers a second consecutive home final.
Last season, the Bulls turned Leinster at the Royal Dublin Society Arena, before the Stormers sneaked past Ulster to host a final they won 18-13.
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Dobson said at Friday’s pre-match press conference that they were holistic in terms of the importance of hosting a home final and certainly didn’t expect to host another final at Leinster’s expense.
“I’m really disappointed that the video got out and we have to look at ourselves there,” Dobson said.
“If you tell me any rugby team in the world, especially with our mission here in Cape Town, wouldn’t celebrate playing at home, I’d like to know.
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain)
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ben-Jason Dixon, 20 Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Marcel Theunissen, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Clayton Blommetjies
15 Mike Haley, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Antoine Frisch, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Shane Daly, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 John Hodnett, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Diarmuid Barron, 1 Jeremy Loughman
Substitutes: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Josh Wycherley, 18 Roman Salanoa, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Alex Kendellen, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Keith Earls
“People think we’re celebrating because we’re playing Munster? No. We’re celebrating because of what this has brought to the city.
“There are 5 000 Munster fans coming over and that’s brilliant because you can imagine what that brings to the city from an economy (perspective).
“We were celebrating the semi-final, having a beer and we weren’t expecting anything from Leinster and Munster.
“Suddenly, someone said we must check out the game and the whole place grew. We couldn’t believe we’d be playing at home.”
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Dobson’s Munster counterpart, Graham Rowntree, said they weren’t giving the video the necessary time of day considering the task that lies ahead of them on Saturday.
“We’ve got enough to worry about instead of worrying about a video of guys cheering after knowing they’ll play at home again,” Rowntree said.
“It’s not been a huge discussion point in our game. We’ve moved one because we’ve got enough to do in terms of getting our game better.”
Dobson, who spoke at the press conference before the former England prop had on Friday, understood that the part where hooker Joseph Dweba was mouthing off in the video was going to be used as motivation by the visitors.
It’s the part where Dweba is holding his child while mouthing off expletives that has raised temperatures under the collar a fair bit.
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Dobson said Dweba’s trust was breached on the release of the video, but added it was theirs to celebrate not just hosting the final, but knowing what it means for teams to host finals.
“I’m pretty sure the Joseph thing has been used in Munster team talks and we’d do the same thing,” Dobson said.
“We betrayed Joseph’s trust in that the video got out, but you’re not going to say: ‘Hey, we’re playing Munster, but s**t, we’re going to lose.’
“There isn’t a rugby team in the world that wouldn’t have reacted like we did. We had fun and we were nagging the organisers to get Champions Cup final tickets.
“We’re ready to go and, suddenly, we look up at the TV: we are staying home, and 55 000 tickets sell out in under three hours.
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“We owe Joseph an apology and if anyone sees that as inciting Munster, they’re completely wrong because regardless of who we faced, we would’ve celebrated hard.
“We haven’t beaten Munster and they whacked us in Limerick, from where they ended our home winning streak on 15 April.
“Joseph’s matter was sheer exuberance, but we let ourselves down by letting that video go out because it can be used as motivation.”
Kick off on Saturday is at 18:30