As supporters we may not always have the inside information on why the decisions are made on which players or coaches Unions contract, but sometimes you do not have to be a rocket scientist to know they are missing the mark.

Over the years we have seen WP Rugby missing out on signing stellar players like Derick Hougaard, Francois Hougaard, Willie Le Roux, Ruan Combrinck, Kobus Wiese, Lourens Adriaanse, Juandre Kruger, Gürthro Steenkamp and Gcobani Bobo to name a few who become Springboks at other unions but played in junior levels in the Western Cape or Boland.

Some of these players were deemed not good enough for Province which forced them to find unions that could see the quality that made them Springboks.

Meyer was assistant coach at Stormers before he became one of the most successful coaches at the Bulls and Springbiks

We now have one of the most successful coaches at Province in recent years still being overlooked for the top job at the Stormers while Robbie Fleck, with half the  CV coaching them for three years running and failing spectacularly.

The fear now is, how long will Dobson be happy being overlooked  for the Stormers gig before he also lookd for an employer that recogniseds his talents and skills as a coach?

In the 3 years Fleck has been the coach of the Stormers, he won 10 out of 16 in 2016 beforen getting hammered by the Chiefs in quarter finals, 10 out 15 wins in 2017 and again losing against the Chiefs in the quarter finals at Newlands, and 6 out of 16 in 2018 not even making the playoffs.

In total, Dobson has guided Western Province to the Vodacom Cup play-offs for five consecutive years between 2011 and 2015, winning the title once.

He also guided the Western Province Under-21s to five consecutive play-offs between 2010 and 2014, winning two titles and ending as losing finalists on two occasions.

He also guided Western  Province to two finals in three years winning in 2017 and id well on his way to end the the 2018 season unbeaten with a full-house of points and bonus points.

Last year he won the Super Sport Challenge in its first year with a perfect season .

In the 2018 season so far no other team could come close to the Province team in the Currie Cup.

He started his coaching career at UCT for their first three seasons in the Varsity Cup competition from 2008-2010.

He guided them to the final in the inaugural 2008 season and helped them reach the play-offs again in 2009, losing 17–19 to NWU Pukke in the semi-final.

He then went to Italy as the technical director of Italian National Championship of Excellence side Roma for the 2009–10 season.

He returned to South Africa to guide UCT Ikey Tigers the final of the 2010 Varsity Cup.

It is actually embarrassing to compare Dobson with Flecks coaching careers but still he is Flecks junior at the union even though Fleck had done his initial apprenticeship under Dobbo as he is affectionaley known at the Ikeys

Only the braintrust at WP Rugby will know why he has been overlooked in 2015 when Fleck was appointed, but even worse is why he are still being denied the job after Fleck has failed with quality players in the union for three years running.

It seems that the Bulls are interested in Dobson service to take over the Bulls next season which mean Province may again lose a quality coach to other.

Personally I do not know what Dobson still need to prove to Gert Smal and his administration at WP Rugby to get noticed as one of the best and most repsected coaches in South Africa?

John Dobson
Rugby union career
Teams coached
Years Team
2008–2010 UCT Ikey Tigers
(head coach)
2009 Roma
(technical director)
2011 UCT Ikey Tigers
(technical adviser)
2010–2014 Western Province U21
(head coach)
2011–2015 Western Province
(Vodacom Cup team)
2015–present Western Province
(Currie Cup team)

By: Adnaan Mohamed

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  1. Interesting you guys all rate this guy. Must be good. WPs teams, apart from fleck, klaping all so he must be good.

  2. One of the few coaches to have done the hard yards at every level, admired by his players, respected by other coaches but simply does not get the opportunity at higher honours.

    Bladdy hell, Fleck was his assistant at UCT

  3. So he’s going through the natural progression Heyneke Meyer went through, albeit far quicker… what’s the problem? How about he wins a CC first, which he looks to do this year after 3 years in charge?

    Not sure what the first paragraph on youth players moving onto other unions and succeeding has to do with either Fleck nor Dobson…

  4. @bryce_in_oz: he actually won the cc last year as well. He really is good I think, but agree that he is going through natural progression.

    Spoke to someone in last week, he reckons that dobson is really good but that he is also just that good because he has a brilliant team of assistants, which is true of all good coaches. Fleck has 1 more year of contract left, WP does not have the money to pay him out with his assistants. It has zero to do with what more must dobson do but very much with money needed to pay out Fleck.

    Dobson knows this which is why indications are that he won’t join the Bulls. Another year and him and his assistants move up to SuperRugby coaches. Being patient is a good thing and is to be respected.

  5. @Provincejoulekkading: only reason Fleck surpassed him was AC wanted him. So he was assistant coach and when AC left the obvious thing was to make him head coach. WP made a mistake in extending his contract but they are not unwilling to give dobson higher honors. They don’t have the money to do that

  6. @Jacques:

    You missed his point entirely mate. Dobson is rated by some ‘not only’ because of his own coaching prowess, but like many of the other successful coach’s worldwide, also because of the quality of those he surrounds himself with.

  7. @Jacques: wow what a way to miss the point. Like any successful coach, think heyneke at the Bulls, Jake White at the Boks, Hansen now, you have to have good assistants. Without them you fail

  8. @Aldo: ye right Hansen is actually useless same as Oom Kitch was if not for their assistance what a stupid argument

    His track record speaks for itself but ye his assists made him a great coach for over 10 years.

    The whole point is with him as it is with Stonehouse the mafia’s running the rugby unions are preventing the real great coaches of coming through.

    Everyone has their opinions on coaches and players but I find it difficult to see any logic in decisions made in this union in 2015 as with many of the decisions.

    The same as I read yesterday that Stonehouse was not even contacted yet by Bulls. How stupid can these ring heads be at these unions ignoring this.

    Also hear, and do not know if it is true that Wakefield who has to step down as President are busy arranging the CEO gig for him at WP.

    And the hits just keep on coming in certain unions in this country

  9. @Jacques: yes you do seem to be missing points this morning. No coach is useless because he has good assistants but a good coach becomes useless if his assistants are useless. Do you understand that or must I repeat it slower? Every good coach in history was good because he surrounded himself with good assistants. Coaching an international team or SuperRugby for that matter, is not a one man job. You cannot be successful if you do not surround yourself with the right people. It goes further than just sports. A good manager is good because of the team he appoints to do a job. It’s called managing, much like what a head coach does. It is one of fleck’s major downfalls, not only is he a poor coach but his assistants are not good enough either and their is massive divisions in the staff. He could not manage it properly. That is what makes dobson a real good coach, not only is he good but his assistants are happy and really good at what they do.

    As for your Hansen quip, he was assistant to Henry, part of the reason Henry was brilliant. He took over but have some brilliant assistants. So not only is he a good coach, but he’s paid his dues and then appointed good assistants. Or are you saying Foster has zero influence in success of the All Blacks? Same way also a good assistant helps make a good coach better, a horrible coach makes a good assistant look poor. Just look at larkham unde Jake White vs larkham under cheika. It is called a coaching team for a reason.

  10. @Jacques: as for Stonehouse, the Bulls aren’t even able to appoint a new ceo, what makes you think they can sign a coach. They are bloody useless at boardroom level and it filters down to the coaches and team management.

    Just relax, it is a well known fact that WP at one point wouldn’t have been able to pay salaries of players in August. Where the hell do you expect them to get the money to buy Fleck and all his assistants contracts out? Dobson will become Stormers coach, just not next year. Fleck and his assistants have one year left on contract. It is not forever.

  11. @Jacques: Jacques I’m familiar witht the Thelo story, if he manages to pull that off it will be one hell of a manouvre . His power as union President is derived from the clubs, sohis rise to power and staying there is understandable.

    Getting the CEO position is another game entirely , the board needs to ratify that, theres no club vote involved there. Bladdy hell, this dude is on another level

  12. Another think aout Dobbo is that players who play for him will die for him, have spoken with more than a handful of guys and their faces almost light up at the mention of his name.

  13. Head coach carries the can and decides who to surround himself with.

    Eddie a slim fox in getting Mitchell. I suspect England will now be a force, not cos of their playing talent, but their coaching talent. Far better than anything they have in NH.

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