GAVIN RICH, writing in the Weekend Argus, says Gert Smal should be appointed Western Province director of rugby.
The former WP and Stormers head coach is back in Cape Town after a stint as Ireland's forwards coach. WP approached Smal last August to discuss whether he would be prepared to rejoin the union, but he has not heard from them since.
'Letting Smal, with all his experience, live in Rondebosch without being involved with the Stormers is idiocy,' writes Rich. 'I bumped into Smal recently and he confirmed to me he would love to be involved. He just needs to be asked.
'He needs to be engaged right now as director of rugby, and there shouldn’t be any need for any debate. Smal knows the systems and the politics of rugby in the Cape, and everyone I speak to agrees that his personality, work ethic and strengths all add up to a combination that tailor-make him for the role.'
Rich says WP and Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee cannot be expected to coach those teams and oversee the recruiting and long term/succession planning at the union.
'Coetzee should be given a chance to show what he could do if he was just the Stormers coach, and not also coach of WP in the Currie Cup. Instead of coaching Province from August through to October, he should be taking time off to smell the roses, which in this case should mean he gets an opportunity for some introspection and a window to study changing trends and to figure out ways to adjust the Stormers’ approach to meet the challenges.
'Instead of finishing off a demanding Currie Cup season at the end of October and then going straight into the pre-season preparation for the following Super Rugby season, he can release some of the pressure on himself by stepping off the conveyor belt he has been on almost constantly since the start of the 2009 Currie Cup.
'That treadmill can only lead to staleness, and just lately the Stormers have been playing like a team that is stale. That can change if they have a coach who hits November refreshed and energised and who with the help of the director of rugby might have some new ideas that don’t compromise strengths that have been built up over a period of time.
'The man to coach the Currie Cup side should be John Dobson as he is the Vodacom Cup coach and can thus use that competition as preparation for the Currie Cup.'
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