Stormers to implement 'collective coaching'

Robbie Fleck (Gallo)
Robbie Fleck (Gallo)

Cape Town - From Eddie Jones to Robbie Fleck in less than a month. 

That has been the story of the Stormers' Super Rugby head coach dilemma. 

After Jones had dropped a bombshell on the Stormers with the news that he would be leaving for England, John Mitchell had emerged as the clear favourite to take up the post at Newlands. 

Director of Rugby Gert Smal had spoken of his desire to appoint a head coach with "six or seven" years of Super Rugby experience while international experience would be beneficial - and all signs pointed towards Mitchell. 

But on Saturday morning the franchise broke the news that Fleck, who has six years of Super Rugby experience as an assistant coach, had been given the head coach position for the season on an interim basis. 

Smal confirmed that there had been talks with Mitchell.

"I have a massive respect for John Mitchell... he’s an outstanding coach," Smal said.

"I spoke to him this morning (Saturday)... I went through a proper process. I sat back, and the decision has been made and Fleckie is going to run with this."

Fleck may be lacking in experience, but both he and Smal spoke on Saturday of a "collective coaching" philosophy that would be implemented. 

"We’ll do it together and I will support him in whatever way I can," said Smal.

"If I’m with the team I’ll take responsibility, if Fleckie is with the team he will take the responsibility. We are busy with a collective coaching approach where all of our senior coaches are involved in Super Rugby."

"I think the collective coaching part of this is extremely important. I’ll be reliant on Paul Treu, Russell Winter, John Dobson, Dawie Snyman as the senior coaches within the union to keep us on track," said Fleck.

The Stormers play their first match of the season when they host the Bulls on February 27.

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