John Dobson was on the brink of being axed before the Western Province Rugby Football Union was placed under administration in October 2021.
Now, less than two years later, Dobson’s Stormers are playing in their second consecutive United Rugby Championship Final.
The financial stability – with any boardroom shenanigans moved into the background – the team has broken a number of records – losing just eight from 41 matches since the URC was launched.
Saturday’s Grand Final against Ireland’s Munster is certain to provide for a carnival and – as Dobson so often says – attempt to make Cape Town smile.
They produce a mix of magician and mongrel – their own brand of chaos.
South Africa’s Director of Rugby Johan Erasmus is certainly one of the supporters – and there are millions in the Cape – of what Dobson has achieved with the team.
Erasmus said the wet conditions and soft underfoot will suit Munster, as they are more accustomed to playing in inclement weather.
The Director of Rugby said it is “amazing” what Dobson achieved since taking over the franchise in 2019.
Having worked his way through the ranks – UCT (Ikey Tigers) in the Varsity Cup, Western Province Under-21, Western Province in the second-tier domestic competition and later WP in the Currie Cup – Dobson is a die-hard Province (Cape Town) man.
Erasmus admitted it is ‘quite a challenge’ to move from Bloemfontein to Cape Town to coach, a shift he made when he relocated in 2007.
He added that, unlike Bloemfontein, Cape Town has so much more distractions – like the Met (annual horse race), model shoots, kite surfing, etc.
(Article continues below the Erasmus interview …)
“Rugby [must] fit in there somewhere,” he said, adding that Dobson’s history and his understanding of Cape Town work for him.
“There were games when he was resting five Springboks and he doesn’t complain.
“He just selects the next guy, he plays and he wins and wins.
“The way he has done that [manage the team] is almost like making all the players equal.
“We have been trying to do at the Springbok team since we took over in 2018.
“He succeeded in getting that right.”
Away from the coaching field, Dobson holds a law degree, a master’s degree in business administration and another one in creative writing.
He is the founder of the 365 Media Group and the rugby365com website.
He is also an author who has published two novels.