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'Underwhelming' to 'cult hero': Joseph Dweba's journey is only just beginning

By Rugby365
Photo by MB Media/Getty Images

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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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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