Stormers rugby: Dobson wants Willemse to ‘silence the haters’

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Stormers coach John Dobson was full of praise for Damian Willemse who produced perhaps his best performance in the number ten jersey for the franchise on Saturday night.

Willemse controlled the game brilliantly with his boot and the only blight on his night was a late yellow card for a professional foul.

Willemse show his class at flyhalf

His kicking game gave the Stormers a distinct advantage over the Cheetahs, who competed reasonably well at setpieces but found it difficult to get out of their own half for much of the game. 

Willemse kept the Stormers on top despite the Cheetahs efforts to outmuscle them at the breakdown.

The flyhalf contributed 15 points with his boot, including a sweetly struck drop-goal, and also had a big hand in a try for Warrick Gelant as the Stormers downed the Cheetahs 30-13 in their last ever match at Newlands.

Stormers Damian Willemse
Damian Willemse of the Stormers during the Super Rugby Unlocked match between the Stormers and the Cheetahs at Newlands on 14 November 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images)

Willemse’s ability with the ball in hand has never been in doubt, but his kicking and general game control appear to have made tremendous progress, pleasing his coach no end.

“The graph over the last three weeks has been steadily upwards,” Dobson said after the match. 

“Hopefully, slowly, we can silence the haters because I thought he was really magnificent tonight.

“His game control was great. That was a really tough game and probably the most physical we’ve played this year, so to have him in that sort of pressure and performing like that made me very happy.

“We want to control games with territory, and I think Damian has made massive progress, but we want to score tries that suit Western Province and Stormers rugby and make people smile and I think we did that as well.”

Stormers still in the hunt

The Stormers are second on the Super Rugby log standings but must hope that the Pumas can upset the first-placed Bulls if they are to claim the newly-minted trophy.

Dobson’s side travel to Durban to face the third-placed Sharks at Kings Park on Saturday 21 November bringing their Super Rugby Unlocked Campaign to a close. That match has significance going forward into the Currie Cup as the teams are level on points and the winner will hold the edge in the race for a home semi-final with the log standings carrying over into the provincial competition.

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