Cape Town – Stormers coach John Dobson and his assistants will be under pressure to improve the team during next year’s Super Rugby competition.
According to Netwerk24, Dobson and his coaching team have performance clauses in their contracts that stipulate that the Stormers need to at least make the quarter-finals.
In 2019, under the guidance of Robbie Fleck, the Stormers failed to reach the knockout stages and finished bottom of the South African conference.
WP Rugby CEO Paul Zacks and president Zelt Marais, who were speakers the union’s annual awards ceremony at Kelvin Grove Club in Newlands on Tuesday, said they had high expectations of the new Stormers coach.
Zacks shared his sentiments in an ironic manner: “There is no pressure Dobbo, but with the talent in our contracted group, I’m carefully optimistic that 2020, if not then 2021, will be the year that the Stormers win their first Super Rugby title.”
Marais added: “The Stormers and Western Province are our two strongest brand names that have to generate most of our income. Western Province will only generate the income it needs if these teams perform year after year. And that will happen in 2020 and 2021.”
Marais said he was disappointed with 2019’s results, which also saw Western Province fail to reach the Currie Cup semi-finals after finishing fifth with just two wins from six matches.
He also demanded more from the Super Rugby team: “The irony is that the same players performed brilliantly at the World Cup. They couldn’t do the same for our teams, but I’m sure they’ll make their mark next year.”
The Stormers will have six World Cup winning Springboks among their ranks in 2020.
Captain Siya Kolisi, flank Pieter-Steph du Toit, props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe, hooker Bongi Mbonambi and scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies are all on board for next year, with only lock Eben Etzebeth (Toulon, France) and centre Damian de Allende (Panasonic Wild Knights, Japan) not be available.
Meanwhile, the Stormers are yet to confirm Dobson’s management team for next year’s Super Rugby competition, but it’s unlikely to change much from the one that did duty under him during the Currie Cup.
Dawie Snyman (backs), Norman Laker (defence) and Hanyani Shimange (forwards) were assistant coaches, while Riefaat Jappie was the strength and conditioning coach and Chippie Solomon the team manager.
Former coach Fleck, who remained employed by the union for this year’s Currie Cup season, has now left.
The Cape franchise open their 2020 Super Rugby campaign at home against the Hurricanes at Newlands on Saturday, February 1.
– Compiled by Herman Mostert