Stormers coach John Dobson laments video leak and says he understands if Munster use it as motivation
Stormers head coach John Dobson says he can understand if Munster use the leaked video of his side celebrating their win over Leinster in the United Rugby Championship as motivation.
The clip showed the players and management cheering as Craig Casey ended the game in Dublin, which meant the Cape Town side remain at home for the final and faced Munster instead of Leinster.
During the footage, Springbok hooker Joseph Dweba turned to the camera and shouted ‘We’re going to f*** them up!’, something that might appear on the away dressing-room wall tomorrow.
"I’m really disappointed that video got out and published and we have to look at ourselves there. My view is, you tell me any rugby team in the world, especially with our mission here in Cape Town, who wouldn't celebrate playing at home,” Dobson said at a pre-match press conference at the DHL Stadium.
"People think you're celebrating because we're playing Munster? No, no. We're celebrating because of what this has brought to the city, I mean I think they've 5,000 here, I might be wrong, but it's brilliant for the economy of the city, let alone the occasion, the emotion.
"We were sitting in the suite just up here, it was beautiful, it was the team, there was a crowd, we were overlooking the empty stadium and we were celebrating having won a really tough game against Connacht and having a beer, and really we weren't expecting anything from Leinster-Munster.
"And then somebody just looks at the screen and says, 'what's this?' and the whole place went, 'this can't be happening, we're going to play at home' and then there was a celebration.
"That goes onto the Joseph thing, which I'm sure has been used in Munster team talks, no question, everyone would do the same thing.
"But if any of them or us could say 'we've got a home final' - I know he used bad words - 'We're going to do it, we're going to win'...he used worse language, which was unfortunate.
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"It's a betrayal of Joseph. We betrayed Joseph and his trust when that thing got out.
"But you're not going to say, 'Yeah, we're playing at home against Munster, s***, we're going to lose' or, 'let's lose it'. You know what I mean?
"So I don't think there's one rugby team in the world who wouldn't have reacted like we did. But it was genuinely a celebration.
"We had plans, we were talking to the URC, trying to get us tickets for the Heineken Cup finals and to go there (to Dublin) to prepare. We were ready to go.
"But then we find out we're staying at home, we've sold out 55,000 tickets, it's a fantastic thing for Cape Town. And that's what we were celebrating, the players were like, 'Let's go, let's go, we can do it, we can win it again and we can win it at home'.
"So it's a massive boost for us.
"I think we owe Joseph an apology about that but anybody who sees it as a slight against Munster is completely wrong. That game could have been Connacht against Ospreys, and had Connacht won it we would have celebrated just the same.
"We've never beaten Munster. We got a hiding in Limerick, they ended our 21 or 22 game winning record here. So we're not going to celebrate playing Munster, they have British and Irish Lions, RG Snyman is one of the best players in the world.
"Joseph's thing was shared exuberance. I can't use the language here but I feel we let ourselves down by letting that video go out because I have no doubt it has been used as a motivational trick.
"But I don't think any team would have reacted any different to us.”
Going after Dweba, Dobson warned, would be a bad idea as he also railed about some of the commentary around the ticket prices for the final which sold out in three hours.
"Joseph when he arrived here - we nicknamed him 'Build-a-bear'. If there's one player who can deliver on that, it's him. He's got the mindset,” he said.
"If they're going to spend their time chasing Joseph Dweba, that's great - he won't retreat.
"The other thing that irritated me a little bit which has nothing to do with Munster was people saying that we reduced ticket prices to fill the stadium.
"I thought it was a brilliant gesture by URC, whoever the decision-makers were because it's so fantastic that the people of Cape Town who have supported us can afford to come to the game.
"To tell you the truth, we could have sold the stadium five-times over. We could have had the ticket prices at over 1,000 Rand and it might have taken a day or two longer, but it would have sold out.
"But the crowd would have looked a lot different.
"People think it was €3 to sell out the stadium that's wrong, it's a lack of understanding of where we are. It's a really tough economy out there."
Dobson is expecting the video controversy to spill over on to the pitch.
Last month’s regular season game erupted on a few occasions and the heightened tension of a final won’t help matters as the Stormers coach appealed for calm from his players.
"Look. you're right about that first game and there was some poor behaviour from us as well,” he said.
"I don't know if you remember, somebody put a hand in somebody's face and Marvin (Orie) or Joe (Dweba) got involved in something.
"So I think there's going to be an element, we spoke early in the week about not doing it. We can't give away penalties against Munster, I'd imagine that while I'm not saying they'll be going out doing cheap shots, they will try and get under our skin a little bit.
"They have got guys with trip-switches, that's the truth and we've seen that the last few weeks.
"It's a hell of an important aspect of the game this week, really something we've talked about a lot.
"We do expect that there's going to be natural niggle, the video won't have helped and our reaction to a few things over the last few weeks... we had it against Benetton, we had it against Connacht where Evan (Roos) got pulled.
"You can see it in the Connacht clip, Evan has been trained to walk away but you can see the Connacht player come up right behind him, just throw him on the ground and I think he does that because he sees it's Evan Roos and he's got this reputation.
"That's where BJ (Ben-Jason Dixon) charged in.... that would be rugby suicide for us tomorrow.
"So, I can't sit here and say 'Munster are going to try off the ball stuff', but it's going to be an area of a lot of focus for us to keep our cool."