John Dobson says taking over as Stormers head coach in 2020 is a natural step in his own journey. DYLAN JACK reports.
Dobson will replace Fleck as head coach of the Vodacom Super Rugby side when the latter’s contract ends later this year.
The Stormers confirmed earlier this month that in order to ensure a smooth succession, Dobson and his coaching team will form part of the staff for this year’s Super Rugby season.
The move will extend Dobson’s decade-long involvement with the Western Province coaching structures, having first joined from the University of Cape Town as an U21 coach, before coaching the Vodacom Cup, Rugby Challenge and Currie Cup teams.
However, Dobson will now be stepping into one of the hottest of coaching seats, with Stormers fans known to be unforgiving of any underachievement.
When asked on Monday, with this in mind, why he chose to take the job, Dobson said he felt it was a natural progression in his personal journey, given his long ties with the Western Cape.
‘I would like to coach at Super Rugby level,’ Dobson said. ‘It was a dream growing up at Newlands, and you want to fulfil that journey as a coach. I thought coaching Western Province at Currie Cup would be my goal and Fleckie and I once chatted about that. The truth is that the Currie Cup is not what it was.
‘I would like to coach the best team in this region for a while before also moving on. I have seen the journey that Fleckie has been on and my eyes are open. When Rob took this job in 2016, I was not sure that I was ready, but hopefully now with the experience I am going to be having this year, I will be.’
Dobson hinted that both he and Fleck turned down offers from other teams in order to ensure that there was an easier transition at the union.
‘I told Fleckie last week that coaching is a bit like the Venezuelan stock exchange at the moment, your share price is extremely volatile,’ Dobson said. ‘Rob will confirm that in 2017 his phone was ringing off the hook.
‘We did have a reasonably good Currie Cup last year until the final, and suddenly the phone is ringing. I can tell you it was not ringing when we lost to Griquas away earlier in the year [in 2017].
‘One or two possibilities came up [for me]. I know Rob had a really good overseas offer, but he wanted to finish his cycle, which was always his plan for 2019.
‘Rob is doing this entirely on his own terms. He has helped in the last two Currie Cups. He has brought me properly into this campaign so I can learn and be exposed to the machinations of Super Rugby.
‘We are quite quick to have a go at Western Province, but this time there has been a mature plan. We have merged two management groups. Obviously, for me, it is a dream to do it.’
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