WP director of rugby Gert Smal says they have already had approaches from a number of candidates interested in taking up the now vacant head coach position, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
At a press conference at Newlands on Friday – understandably far less jovial than last week's when Eddie Jones was unveiled – Smal said they were taking stock after the shock departure of the heralded coach.
Smal will oversee the team’s ongoing off-season programme on an interim basis, but confirmed that Jones will return to Cape Town for a brief spell in December to assist with some Vodacom Super Rugby planning.
He said a lot of planning and preparation had already taken place, and that it wasn’t a case of completely having to start from scratch.
‘We’ve already had at least four approaches, so there’s a lot of interest. I have to make the right decisions to bring in the right person. We’ll make the decision [on a successor] as quickly as possible, but I’m not going to make the wrong decision. So I’ll take the time required, it needs to be someone who understands the Stormers culture, the way we want to play and the dynamics of South African rugby.
‘A lot of stuff is already in place, we want to still enforce a Stormers style of play that was spoken of last week, we’re not going to change that. The players and coaches are still very energised, Eddie will come in during early December, and we’ll do some planning with him during that time. Eddie wanted to come back in, he feels bad about what happened, and wants to see that we go forward properly. It all depends on his commitments and time available, but it will be nice to have him as a sounding board, now and even in the future.’
Smal said they’d like to appoint a coach with extensive Super Rugby experience, and ideally international experience as well, but reiterated that they’d look at all options.
‘There are still a lot of things we’d like to get right, and there’s a lot of work to be done behind the scenes. I’m just going to step in to take charge of the off-season and pre-season, and Fleckie [Robbie Fleck] is going to fulfil a role as a coaching co-ordinator. I’m glad I gave him an opportunity to coach the U21s, which was good experience. I’ll look to empower him during this time.’
Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images