Cape Town - Robbie Fleck may have been a free-spirited rugby player, but the players take him seriously as coach, lock Eben Etzebeth insists.
Fleck, who was Stormers backline coach the last few years, was elevated to head coach late last year following the sudden resignation of Eddie Jones.
Fleck, who played 31 Tests at centre for the Springboks between 1999 and 2002, was known in his playing days as a free spirit, not afraid to express himself on the pitch.
This had led some to question whether he would be assertive enough as head coach of the Super Rugby franchise.
But Etzebeth was quick to play down those suggestions on Wednesday.
"As head coach, he has now taken charge. He is definitely a free-spirited person and that's how he wants us to play. All the players support him and I think he'll do really well," Etzebeth told Netwerk24.
Etzebeth returned to the Stormers this week after playing club rugby in Japan for the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes the last few months.
He assured that he is in top physical shape ahead of the Super Rugby competition.
"I didn't pick up any injuries or niggles in Japan. As a young man I recover fast and the Super Rugby competition only starts at the end of the month. Before then I'll at least have a few off weekends," the 24-year-old lock said.