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John Dobson to take over Stormers for 2020 as WP Rugby revise coaching structure


WP Rugby has revised it’s coaching and team management structures, with the big news coming out of all of this, John Dobson to take over as the Stormers coach next year from Robbie Fleck.

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With this new structure WP Rugby want to make the best use of their coaching resources while they also establish a clear succession plan in developing its coaching talent for the future.

This is a huge positive leap from WP Rugby in utilising and develop their coaches in world-class coaches inline with the transformation goals.

Director of Rugby Gert Smal is set to leave at the end of march and his roles and responsibilities will be shared by the CEO, Senior Professional Head Coach and the High Performance Manager.

The 2019 Stormers mamagement team will look as follow….Riefaat Jappie (Strength and Conditioning Coach), Norman Laker (Defence Coach), and Dawie Snyman (Assistant Coach – Backs) come into the set-up. They join Head Coach Robbie Fleck, Russell Winter (Assistant Coach – Forwards), Human Kriek (Technical Analyst) and Team Manager Chippie Solomon for the 2019 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.

Riefaat Japie has come through the system and first joined WP Rugby five years ago as an intern, while Laker and Snyman have been involved with DHL WP team.

Snyman will work closely with Paul Feeneym who will still be involved as skills and exit coach. This will ensure a smooth transition for when Feeney contract ends at the end of the season.

With Laker and Snyman involved at Stormers a new opportunity resents itself for this years SuperSport Rugby Challenge coaching team.

Jerome Paarwater has been appointed as the DHL WP head coach for the SuperSport Rugby Challenge and will be supported by Nazeem Adams(Assistant Coach – Backs), Rito Hlungwani (Assistant Coach – Forwards), Chris October (Defence Coach), Naasier Parker (Strength and Conditioning Coach), Elliot Hanabe (Technical Analyst) and Team Manager Cassiem Barnes.

There will also be certain specialist coaches for both the Stormers and WP Challenge teams.

John Dobson (Breakdowns), Paul Feeney (Skills and Exits), Gareth Wright (Kicking) and, on a consultative basis, Hanyani Shimange will provide specialist input to both professional teams.

Paul Treu will provide further support for both teams by applying current and scientific knowledge to the planning and preparation of all teams in the new role of Performance and Innovation Manager.

“This new structure means that players will get more individual attention, while we continue to support and develop our coaches to build quality, motivated and transformed coaching and playing teams for the future,” said Zacks.

John Dobson has been appointed the DHL Stormers Head Coach from next season with Robbie fleck set to play a crucial role in the transition and succession plans.

Both Fleck and Dobson will work closely with Western Province Rugby Group CEO Paul Zacks and High Performance Manager Greg Hechter to build a strong playing squad for 2020 and beyond. The contracting of players beyond 2019 will begin once the new SARU contracting model parameters have been finalised.

Dobson will also ensure the driving of WP Rugby transformation for future coaching and management teams.

“There is a clear succession and development plan now in place and the opportunities created within the new structure will put us in a stronger position going forward,” said Zacks.

Zacks thanked Smal for his invaluable contributions to Western Province Rugby through the years.

“It has been an absolute privilege to work with Gert Smal who has played such a big role here at WP both on and off the field for many years and he leaves with our very best wishes for his future,” he said.

Smal commented: “I would like to say thank you to the CEO and the Board for entrusting me over the years as Director of Rugby at Western Province. The decision to leave was not taken lightly. I wish only the best to all the coaches, the players and all the employees at WP and hope and trust that the franchise will go from strength to strength.”

Zacks said that this new structure is the result of a positive and constructive working relationship between the WPRFU Executive Committee (Exco) and the Company Board.

“We are all excited about the possibilities for the future. This could not have been achieved without the spirit of co-operation that has been shown off the field between the Exco and the Board,” he added.