Smal’s put himself under pressure

BRENDAN VENTER, writing on, says Gert Smal erred by stating that he wanted WP and the Stormers to play a more attacking brand of rugby.

Smal was on Monday appointed WP director of rugby, a role that will see him oversee all aspects of the game at the union. 

At the press conference, Smal said he wanted his teams 'to play typical WP and Stormers rugby. They've been coached to play in a very structured way over the past few years. I want them to play more of a 15-man game, to be more unpredictable. I want the players to express themselves.'

Venter didn't think Smal should have said that.

'It could potentially put pressure on the 52-year-old as it may be misconstrued as advocating a “run from everywhere” approach, last seen during Carel du Plessis’ playing days,' said Venter. 'While attack and defence at times seem worlds apart, often these two elements feed off each other.

'I believe that one of the Stormers’ primary tactical flaws is that their defensive strategy does not lend itself to turnovers, which currently represent the greatest source of try-scoring opportunities. To argue that because a team defends well, they therefore attack poorly, is a flawed hypothesis.'

Venter, though, believes Smal's appointment 'could well prove an ingenious plan' and praised the WP administrators for 'not throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water' and retaining Allister Coetzee as head coach.

Read Venter's full column

Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images

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Simon Borchardt