Stormers' big contracting challenge
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: Holding onto their talent will be the Stormers’ biggest challenge in 2019.
The Stormers’ succession plan is in full swing with Dobson, who has been appointed as the Stormers head coach from next season, fully integrated into Robbie Fleck’s management team this year.
The main reason for the Stormers announcing the succession plan early was to provide some clarity and direction for players.
There is set to be a major exodus of players after this year’s World Cup and the Stormers could be hit hard with some of their top players linked to overseas clubs.
“The big challenge for John [Dobson] going forward would be to contract players going forward and to secure a strong playing base,” Fleck told reporters at the team’s base in Bellville.
“I think that we have built a good team up over the last four years. The focus is on 2019, but we have to have a look at what’s going to happen going forward.
“It’s an end of an era and now a new era will start coming in and it’s his [Dobson’s] job along with my help to convince as many players to stay at Western Province and the Stormers and make it a success in 2020 and beyond.”
Fleck added: “We had to announce it [succession plan] now because of the contracting of players.
“These discussions were already happening last year, and it was actually happening during the campaign last year, so it’s been pretty clear from my side to the company that I was going to vacate and that my contract ends on the 31st of October.
“We will wait and see what happens between now and then but the reason it was announced now was purely because we are getting involved with negotiations with players and it’s part of my duties and responsibilities to help Dobbo recruit correctly.”
Fleck believes Dobson’s job will be made easier by the fact that players ‘respect and enjoy working with him’.
“I have been part of Dobbo’s management team during the Currie Cup for the last two to three years, so I know exactly how he operates.
“I firmly believe that John will be able to recruit the correct amount of guys,” said Fleck.
Meanwhile, Dobson is relishing the task that lies ahead of him.
“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t be having this conversation until after the competition because Fleckie and his team have worked really hard. This is a culmination of a four-year cycle and I would have preferred if it happened afterwards.
“One must not be naive, this is a four-year cycle across the world and for 2020 and 2019 to be a success we need happy players, so you don’t really want to be going to a quarterfinal with a guy looking over his shoulder or negotiating with Wasps or whoever it is,” said Dobson.
By Warren Fortune