LEAP OF FAITH: John Dobson. PHOTO: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix.

The decision-makers at the Stormers must just take a leap of faith when it comes to coach John Dobson.

Having been named the franchise’s head coach for the 2020 season last week, Dobson is currently assisting the team as breakdown specialist with Robbie Fleck still operating as head coach until his contract runs out at the end of the season.

I do believe, though, that the table is set for Dobson to take control of the Stormers squad this season already.

And it is possible to do so without tarnishing the reputation of Fleck.

See, director of rugby at the franchise, Gert Smal, will vacate his position at the end of the month - he will further his career in Japan.


This creates the perfect opportunity to make the best of the experience gained by Fleck over the past few years as head coach of the Stormers by using him in this capacity for the remainder of his contract at the union.

In his new temporary role as director, I see Fleck giving back to the Stormers instead of taking that final shot at Super Rugby glory.

Yes, it will be asking a lot of him, especially with the preparation that has gone into the season.

But it will be an honourable way to end his stint as the big tactician at the Stormers.

Sometimes gradually fading away from one project while making sure you have lined up your successor and have given him the tools not to make the same mistakes you did, is exactly the sort of selfless act you need in order to take the next step in your career.

So while I’m suggesting that Fleckie takes a back seat, the Stormers still need him to hold Dobson’s hand for this season at least.

It is expected that the team will lose a number of their big-name players at the end of the year and with Dobson being a rookie in terms of Super Rugby experience, blooding him now will only benefit the franchise in years to come.

Daniel du Plessis of the Stormers. PHOTO: BACKPAGEPIX

They will undergo yet another building process next season, but they can start laying a solid foundation for that already.

This type of move will allow the Stormers and Dobson to get some of their tactical experiments out of the way this year.

And as it stands, I don’t think they could have asked for a better candidate to take over from Fleck.

Dobson has been doing well in the Currie Cup over the last few seasons, but what has impressed me most about him is his depth of knowledge of the local talent in Cape Town.

He has proven in the past that he is not scared to give club players a go at provincial level and with the Stormers clearly not having the money to import big guns, Dobson is the type of coach that has what it takes to rebuild the union and franchise and rebuild it fast.

And that’s the reason why they have to get him into the limelight at Super Rugby level as quickly as possible.


We all know that it takes time to settle into a new job. Stormers fans, though, will expect him to hit the ground running.

So why not use the expertise of Fleck while it’s still available, while at the same time exposing Dobson the next level of his career a year before the time?

I can only see benefits for the union and franchise if they go this route.

We already have co-captains, so why not introduce the idea of co-coaches?

It might not be such a bad idea after all. 

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