'Underwhelming' to 'cult hero': Joseph Dweba's journey is only just beginning
Joseph Dweba is not everybody’s cup of tea and has come in for some severe criticism in the wake of some underwhelming Springbok performances this year.
However, Stormers coach John Dobson believes that with “a bit of squeezing and a bit of love” he will become a cult hero in Cape Town.
Dweba’s proverbial ‘fall from grace’ started when the 26-year-old featured in the 12-13 second Test loss to Wales in Bloemfontein in July.
His woes in the line-outs were again highlighted he started in the 23-35 Round Two Rugby Championship loss to New Zealand at Ellis Park and further elevated the level of ignominy in the 17-25 loss to Australia in Adelaide.
However, Dobson is adamant that Dweba – who spent most of his time at Bordeaux in France playing off the bench – just needs game time to reach his true potential.
That is a ‘journey’ that will start at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday when he will feature play for the Stormers in a United Rugby Championship Round Three match against Edinburgh.
“Joseph just needs to play,” said Dobson – who walked a similar path with flyhalf Manie Libbok, when he arrived in Cape Town after unsuccessful stints with the Bulls and Sharks.
“I understand that at Test-match level, your margin is smaller in terms of time and you have to make instant changes,” he said of Dweba’s axing from the Springboks quad after a few underwhelming performances.
However, Dobson is adamant the Stormers have a “long journey to walk with” with the hooker over the next three years.
“He certainly can throw,” Dobson said.
It was a scrumming performance in training that convinced the Stormers coach that he is backing the right horse.
I didn’t know that, I must admit,” Dobson said the Dweba’s scrum power.
“There was one scrum and Andre-Hugo [Venter] popped out and it looked cross-eyed.
“Joseph has an amazingly powerful hit.
“If you throw in our props [Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe] next to him, that’s very exciting.”
The other aspect of Dweba’s play that has the coach singing his praises it is Dweba’s carrying.
“He is a really good carrier.”
Dobson said he doesn’t expect the hooker to ‘dominate the world’ on Saturday.
“He has a bit of diesel in him and he needs to play quite a bit,” the coach said.
“The environment and the support he has here [at the Stormers] he will get better and better.
“He is really going to be somebody that will become a cult hero in this [Cape Town] stadium in years to come.
“The journey starts this week.
“I don’t think we have seen the finished product yet.”
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