The Stormers coaches should be axed and a head coach appointed who can rebuild the franchise, writes RYAN VREDE.
The Cape franchise's future as a potential force in Super Rugby hangs in the balance. This isn't an exaggeration. They require an intervention of the most serious kind, but also one that is purposeful and prioritises present stability and future excellence in equal measure.
On the former point, they simply don't have the quality of squad to be considered play-off contenders, but they also shouldn't be joint bottom, having lost three of their four matches to date in the sterile, rudderless and utterly uninspiring fashion they have. Their attacking struggles are chronic and well-documented, but now even their famed defensive solidity appears to have eluded them, with the team having conceded 30-plus points in two of their four matches to date.
Watching them, you can't help but believe a more competent coaching staff would extract a level of performance the current trio are incapable of. Again, the level to which a new coaching staff could improve the team would be limited by the calibre of players at their disposal. However, I've seen average players thrive when guided and educated in the execution of astute tactics. Most recently, the 2013 Brumbies and Cheetahs were examples of this. The current Lions are as well, albeit to a lesser degree.
What is the point of waiting until the end of the campaign to axe Allister Coetzee and co? The team's regression has been dramatic under them and won't improve to the degree that would warrant their retention. It's time to cut them loose and replace them with a head coach of renown and accomplishment, one who is equipped to manage the Cape franchise's initial transition and subsequent rebuild of the type Heyneke Meyer effected in his early years at the Bulls.
I wonder if the Stormers' suits have even considered this course of action. Based on their recent record of gross incompetence, I'd guess not. Indeed, their leadership of the franchise has bordered on diabolical in the past couple of years – a failure to consistently identify and/or retain gifted young players in a province bursting at the seams with them and the purchase and recruitment of wildly ineffective players – among their most telling in an ever-growing catalogue of failures.
The leadership has stewed in mediocrity and that has been reflected in the team's performance. The situation is dire and calls for decisive, thoughtful and immediate action. They could still set the Stormers' wayward ship back on course, but that would mean them defying expectations to do the logical thing.
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