Dobson takes a back seat as Hlungwani takes Stormers coaching reins for Griquas clash

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Rito Hlungwani. (Gallo Images)
Rito Hlungwani. (Gallo Images)
  • Rito Hlungwani will take the head coaching reins from John Dobson when the Stormers tackle Griquas in Kimberley next Tuesday.
  • Dobson added that two of his other assistants would get a turn at being "head coach" against the Bulls and Lions.
  • Dobson said the preparation series was a good platform to give "opportunities and exposure" to the coaches.

The Stormers will use the remainder of SA Rugby's preparation series to give head coaching exposure to their assistant coaches.

Head coach John Dobson confirmed on Tuesday that forwards coach Rito Hlungwani will be in charge during next Tuesday's game against Griquas in Kimberley.

"Rito Hlungwani will take charge of the team going into the game against Griquas. I'll still be involved coaching in my departments... overseeing things... but as much as we want to build depth and opportunity for our players across this series, the same applies to the coaching staff," Dobson told reporters during an online media briefing.

Dobson added that the other assistants would get a turn at being "head coach" for the Stormers' final two games in the series against the Bulls in Pretoria (Friday, 19 March) and Lions in Cape Town (Saturday, 27 March).

"Rito's a good head coach, he coached at junior level and at club level... so he'll run the programme going into the Griquas game. Labeeb Levy (skills coach) will probably do the game against the Bulls and Dawie Snyman (backline guru) against the Lions.

"We want to create opportunities and give these guys exposure and just developing the coaches."

The Stormers aren't the only team experimenting in this manner during the preparation series, with Mziwakhe Nkosi already taking the reins from Ivan van Rooyen at the Lions.

Dobson, though, stressed that he wouldn't be taking a back seat completely but relished the exposure his assistants would get.

"I'm still going to take responsibility for the performance of the [team] next Tuesday. As a head coach, there are things the other coaches aren't exposed to and I think that's selecting or dropping a player, signing off on a training session, looking at the metrics with the GPS, speaking to the team, presenting the week theme, submitting the plan, having a plan interrogated by the other coaches... I think that's all good stuff.

"It's not a university course for Rito, it's just to give him some experience of what I do and that's not something you could do in an ordinary competition. And as we know this competition is called the preparation series, there's no log, there's no trophy. But there's still a lot of pressure which is great."

The Stormers, who lost their series opener 34-33 to the Cheetahs in Cape Town last weekend, will name their team to face Griquas on Friday.

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