Robbie Fleck and John Dobson believe the Stormers’ coaching succession plan will help them to retain players beyond 2019. DYLAN JACK reports.
WP Rugby announced after the Stormers’ third-round victory against the Sharks that Dobson would replace Fleck as Stormers head coach in 2020.
Dobson and members of his Currie Cup coaching staff Dawie Snyman and Norman Laker have since been included in the current Stormers management team to ensure a smooth transition.
There are question marks surrounding the futures of several of the Stormers’ key players. Eben Etzebeth will reportedly join Toulon after the World Cup, while Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi and Steven Kitshoff have also been linked with moves abroad.
Fleck told the media on Monday that having the coaching staff confirmed for 2020 will ease the players’ minds in terms of the future of the team, which they hope will help when it comes to negotiations.
‘We had to announce it now because of contracting and dealing with the players,’ Fleck said. ‘It is part of my duties and responsibilities to help Dobbo recruit.
‘These discussions were actually happening during last year’s campaign. It has been pretty clear from my side that I was going to vacate my position when my contract ends on 31 October. What happens between now and then, we will wait and see.’
Fleck said the good rapport Dobson had built with the players and the success he had enjoyed with WP’s junior and Currie Cup teams would encourage the players to stay.
‘I know for a fact the players respect him and enjoy working with him. I have been a part of Dobbo’s coaching staff for the past two to three years so I know exactly how he operates. I think we will be successful in recruiting as many players as we can.’
Dobson said WP Rugby did not want its players to be distracted by negotiations during the business end of Super Rugby.
‘In an ideal world we would not be having this conversation until after the competition. Fleckie and his team have worked very hard, and this is the culmination of a four-year cycle.
‘But one must not be naive. For 2019 and 2020 to be a success we need secure and happy players. We don’t want to be going toward the quarter-finals of this year’s Super Rugby and have a guy looking over his shoulder or negotiating with an overseas club. Now we can really move forward.
‘It would be naive to think we can keep everybody, but Fleckie has not been scared to give young players like [Juarno] Trokkie Augustus and Damian Willemse a chance. Now all of our eggs are not in that basket of 2010’s golden generation of U19 players such as Scarra Ntubeni and Eben Etzebeth.’
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