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Stormers hooker Joseph Dweba open about criticism: ‘I don’t focus on it’
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Stormers hooker Joseph Dweba open about criticism: ‘I don’t focus on it’

Stormers hooker Joseph Dweba says he doesn’t pay attention to the criticism he often receives from the media and the rugby public.

The 28-year-old Dweba is one of the most polarizing figures in South African rugby.

When he’s performing well, he’s one of the best players in the country, and when he’s not performing well, he’s one of the most frustrating players to watch.

Unfortunately, some of his disappointing performances have occurred while playing for the Springboks, mainly due to his missing lineout throws, something considered a staple for hookers.

This also sometimes caused him to fall down the pecking order in the Springboks line-up.

‘I’m just concentrating on my game’

However, to show how strong he is, Dweba does not let criticism get to him as he is always confident on the field.

“It depends on how you see it as a person, it can be good or bad,” Dweba said when asked how he handles the scrutiny.

“I don’t concentrate on that. I just focus on my game on the field. I don’t focus on what’s happening outside, I can’t control what people say about me. I just have to perform for the team and keep fighting for the team,” he said.

Despite his mistakes throwing into the lineout, Dweba has grown into a great player. He has achieved cult hero status with the Cheetahs, spent time in France playing for Bordeaux and is now an integral part of the Stormers.

‘One of the best in the world’

Stormers’ forwards coach Rito Hlungwani said Dweba is one of the best scrumming hookers in the world.

“Joseph is probably one of the best hookers we have in the country, and possibly in the world,” Hlungwani said.

“Just the level of detail he goes into with his teammates, the intensity he brings to training and his refusal to lose even one scrum in training is quite impressive.

“It’s something he focuses on, he probably doesn’t get much credit for that, but it’s something he takes seriously and is very effective. It’s huge for us to have a hooker like Joseph where we can push ourselves to get scrum penalties,” he said.

Aimed at reaching Marx and Mbonambi levels

Dweba said the desire to be an elite scrumming hooker was instilled by the presence of two-time Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks Malcolm Marx and Bongi Mbonambi.

“I’ve worked with guys like Bongi and Malcolm, guys who’ve done it, guys who’ve won two World Cups. I’ve seen how they’ve taken scrumming seriously, and that’s built something in me too, to say that I can do that too. I just built on that,” Dweba said.

The hooker will look to play a significant role when the Stormers take on the Dragons in a United Rugby Championship match at Rodney Parade on Friday (kick-off at 8.35pm).