Cape Town – The Hurricanes have hit back after Stormers coach John Dobson criticised their tactics during last Saturday’s Super Rugby encounter at Newlands.
The match was blighted by several off-the-ball niggles and Dobson made it clear that he was upset by the tactics employed by the New Zealanders who lost 27-0.
“I thought that was a mean-spirited game. It was not good for the tournament going forward… it was very subtle stuff, but when we reviewed the game a few times we were more and more angry,” Dobson told reporters at the Stormers’ High Performance Centre in Bellville on Tuesday.
The Hurricanes are in Buenos Aires this week, preparing for a clash against the Jaguares and their assistant coach Chris Gibbes said he was taken aback by Dobson’s comments.
“I’ve just read the article and it’s blindsided all of us to be fair. It’s a pretty big glass house there to be honest,” Gibbes told reporters in the Argentine capital, as quoted by the Stuff.co.nz website.
Gibbes said the Hurricanes had reviewed the game and claimed the Stormers were also guilty of dirty tactics.
“There are a few clips that we’ve looked at – TJ (Perenara) getting tackled off the ball, head shots and guys getting their heads hit.
“So I don’t know where he’s coming from with that. He’s entitled to his opinion, but it’s a bit surprising, and a bit disappointing,” Gibbes continued.
The biggest news to come out of the game was the first half knee injury suffered by Stormers captain Siya Kolisi following a late hit from Hurricanes hooker Ricky Riccitelli.
Hurricanes centre Billy Proctor also saw yellow early in the second half for a dangerous hit on Stormers flyhalf Damian Willemse and 11 minutes later loose forward Vaea Fifita was sin-binned for a shoulder charge on replacement Stormers hooker Scarra Ntubeni.
Television cameras also caught flank Du’Plessis Kirifi applying fingers to Stormers counterpart Pieter-Steph du Toit’s face during a ‘tussle’.
Dobson added: “I think Pieter-Steph went through quite a hard time… there was one movement where Seabelo Senatla’s hair is pulled twice. We weren’t happy with that game at all, lots of stuff happened on the field.
“They (the Hurricanes) are a good team so it was disappointing. You know, we’ve got Pieter-Steph du Toit who’s the world player of the year and if the way of dealing with that is through cheap shots then it’s a problem. I don’t think it’s good for rugby, to be honest.”
Gibbes agreed that Proctor deserved to see yellow, but couldn’t understand why Fifita had been sent off for 10 minutes.
“Billy’s one we could have controlled, he didn’t need to do that, but Vaea’s one we have looked at a number of times and it doesn’t look (like a yellow card).”
– Compiled by Herman Mostert