The Stormers have confirmed that John Dobson will replace Robbie Fleck as head coach at the end of the 2019 season.
Fleck’s contract will expire at the end of October. Earlier this week, it was reported that Dobson was being lined up as a replacement ahead of the 2020 season.
The Stormers confirmed the news in a press release on Tuesday evening. Both Fleck and Dobson will work closely with Western Province Rugby Group CEO Paul Zacks and high performance manager Greg Hechter to build a strong playing squad for 2020 and beyond. The contracting of players beyond 2019 will begin once the new SA Rugby contracting model parameters have been finalised.
In addition to ensuring the Stormers’ success on the field, one of Dobson’s key focus areas will be driving transformation in the future coaching and management teams.
‘There is a clear succession and development plan now in place and the opportunities created within the new structure will put us in a stronger position going forward,’ said Zacks.
With director of rugby Gert Smal set to leave at the end of March in order to take up a new opportunity with Toyota Verblitz in Japan, his roles and responsibilities will be collectively handled by the CEO, the senior professional head coach and the high performance manager.
‘The decision to leave was not taken lightly,’ said Smal in a statement. ‘I wish only the best to all the coaches, the players and all the employees at WP, and hope and trust that the franchise will go from strength to strength.’
While both the Stormers and the Western Province Rugby Challenge teams will have their respective management staffs, there will also be certain specialist coaches available to work with both sides in order to make the most of the coaching resources within WP Rugby.
Dobson (breakdowns), Paul Feeney (skills and exits), Gareth Wright (kicking), and on a consultative basis Hanyani Shimange will provide specialist input to both professional teams.
Paul Treu will provide further support by ‘applying current and scientific knowledge to the planning and preparation of all teams’ in his new role of performance and innovation manager.
Former Stormers assistant coach Jerome Paarwater has been appointed as the new Western Province head coach for the Rugby Challenge and will be supported by Nazeem Adams (assistant coach – backs), Rito Hlungwani (assistant coach – forwards), Chris October (defence coach), Naasier Parker (strength and conditioning coach), Elliot Hanabe (technical analyst) and team manager Cassiem Barnes.
Zacks said that this new structure is the result of a positive and constructive working relationship between the WPRFU executive committee and the company board.
‘We are all excited about the possibilities for the future. This could not have been achieved without the spirit of co-operation that has been shown off the field between the exco and the board,’ he added.
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