• Dobson whitewashes Jake as Stormers bury Bulls

    Dobson whitewashes Jake as Stormers bury Bulls
    ©Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

    John Dobson did the treble on Jake White in a stunning Vodacom United Rugby Championship final in Cape Town, writes Mark Keohane.

    The DHL Stormers 18-13 win against the Vodacom Bulls was as much a victory for Dobson over White as it was for the hosts over their rivals from up north.

    Dobson’s Stormers beat the Bulls twice in the URC league and completed a hat trick of wins in front of 31 000 very partisan locals.

    If the government Covid regulations had allowed for a capacity crowd, then 50 000 would have been at the DHL Stadium for what was a magnificent occasion. Compliment to URC COO Charl Crous and his team and Rian Oberholzer and his team at Western Province. What a night for rugby in the mother city.

    White and his Bulls will wonder how they lost a final in which they controlled everything in the first 30 minutes, but only led 7-0.

    Dobson will wonder how the hell his boys were only 7-3 down at half-time.

    The first 45 minutes of this contest belonged exclusively to the Bulls and the next 30 belonged to the Stormers. The last five, with just five points separating the teams, was a lottery.

    The Stormers, a mixture of awful and awesome, somehow hung in for 50 minutes before starting to look like the team that hasn’t been beaten in three months and the more they fought their way back on the scoreboard, the more the Bulls retreated into their shells and played the most innocuous of rugby.

    The Bulls in beating Leinster in Dublin in the semi-final mixed the brave with the beautiful but their performance in Cape Town on Saturday night suggested they played their final a week ago.

    For the Stormers, every week for the past three months seems to have been a final, and they have somehow found a way to win.

    WATCH: HOW KEO CALLED THE DHL Stormers title triumph, long before the final.


    Captain Steven Kitshoff was simply outstanding, as was tighthead prop Frans Malherbe. Evan Roos found his form in the second forty and Manie Libbok did the basics badly and the near impossible impressively.

    Deon Fourie, in his 100th match for the Stormers, was brilliant and Saturday will always be among his career highlights.

    But when things settle over the next 24 hours, Dobson will know that this was the season he did White – and that takes some doing.

    White is comfortably one of the best coaches in the world, but he missed a trick in the URC final, just like the Bulls missed a trick on the three occasions they played the Stormers this season.

    The win on Saturday night secured a first ever international trophy for the Stormers, but it was no fluke.

    When you win once against a team, perhaps there is luck, when you win a second time, it isn’t about luck and when you win a third time in three starts, you are the better team.

    The Stormers this season were the best South African team in the URC and they have the SA Shield to show for that, and they are also the best team in the URC because they have the first ever URC trophy to show for that, courtesy of a two-try to one 18-13 win.


    All the #URC Final match live commentary and scores





    Powered by the Vodacom URC’s official stat providers Oval Rugby and supported by historic information from Stuart Farmer Media Services (SFMS), the Vodacom URC StatMaster applies context to the data available for each match in the upcoming round.

    The Vodacom URC StatMaster isn’t just about ranking the top-scorers or tacklers, it pinpoints the metrics that provide real insight into the matchups taking place and what factors can prove influential in the winning and losing.

    Performance data fields for teams and players are used and combined with reports and analysis on penalties, 22-entry data and times of scoring to provide a one-page insight report on each fixture.

    The goal of the Vodacom URC StatMaster Insight Pack is to help demystify the game and make it easier to explain through simplified data.

    DHL Stormers

    • The Stormers have been a potent attacking force this season and their offensive play is very rarely thwarted by their own indiscipline. John Dobson’s side have conceded fewer penalties in attack than any other team in the URC this season (52)
    • Clean breaks is also an area where the Stormers have set the pace this term, boasting a league-best tally of 155, although the individual charts are topped by a pair of Bulls players – Madosh Tambwe and Kurt-Lee Arendse (both on 23)
    • N0 8 Evan Roos has had a season to remember, enjoying success in the Vodacom URC Awards and earning a call-up to the Springbok squad. He leads the way for successful carries (142) and defenders beaten (53) in the URC

    Vodacom Bulls

    • The Bulls know how to keep an attacking move going, having completed more offloads than any other team in the competition (231), although the Stormers are just six behind on 225
    • Only Leinster (89) have scored more tries in the URC than the Bulls (73) this season. The Stormers are fourth on the list with 66
    • The Bulls boast the top-two try-scoring forwards in the competition, with back rower Marcell Coetzee sitting on 11 and hooker Johan Grobbelaar on 9

    Did You Know?

    • The Stormers have won their last 10 matches since losing 19-17 to Connacht in Galway on 26 February. The Bulls, meanwhile, have lost only one of their past 11 URC fixtures – by the same scoreline to the Stormers in Cape Town on 9 April
    • That fixture forms part of a five-match unbeaten run in matches against SA opposition for the Stormers, whose only home defeat this season was a 37-19 reverse against the Emirates Lions in December
    • Stormers wing Leolin Zas collected the Top Try-Scorer prize during the Vodacom URC Awards, but Marcell Coetzee pulled level with him on 11 by touching down in the final-four victory over Leinster

    Article written by

    Keo has written about South African and international rugby professionally for the last 25 years