Fleck is a WP man


But it’s done. And there’s nothing anybody can do about it now.

Yes, the Western Province Rugby Union let two international-class coaches slip through their fingers, and one wonders why Gert Smal, the WP director of rugby, actually bothered to make an educated recommendation to the board to appoint John Mitchell.

You also have to feel sorry for Mitchell because he was given such a raw deal. Rumour has it that Smal fought hard for him and told him that everything would be okay.

But, as they say in the classics, the show must go on.

With Mitchell not cracking the nod, Fleck is probably the obvious choice, because if you look around South Africa, there isn’t another coach who really sticks out, who could take this team forward.

At least Fleck has been with the team for a good few years and has taken charge of the Stormers during the first half of their pre-season preparations. He knows the players well, and, like he repeatedly said on Saturday morning, he is a WP man through and through.

The other positive about Fleck’s appointment is that he is a man who believes in Smal’s vision of playing an all-encompassing brand of rugby. As a rugby player, the new Stormers boss played with flair and instinct.

There’s also more to Fleck than just his surfer persona – some of his analysis on television during the World Cup and in various interviews since I have been writing rugby has been really good.

And who knows, maybe Fleck just needs this chance to show what he can do without Allister Coetzee looking over his shoulder. This could be the chance for the former Springbok centre to spread his wings.

But this job will be a career-defining one for Fleck, and we have to ask ourselves whether he can cope with the pressure of being the big boss. The Stormers coaching job is a far cry from the WP U21s. Especially, also, because his assistants won’t be experienced Super Rugby campaigners.

So what will happen to Fleck’s development as a coach if the Stormers don’t deliver next year?

Will he be thrown on the scrapheap and be made a scapegoat when the Newlands faithful again sit droëbek at the end of the Super Rugby campaign?

Who should be held responsible if this team with all their new recruits don’t make an impression in next year’s Super Rugby competition? Certainly not Fleck or Smal if the reports surrounding the selection are to be believed.

So let’s see what the New Year holds for both Fleck and the Stormers. Let’s give Fleckie a chance to see if he can cut the mustard. Otherwise, the bosses need to explain why they bought the wrong brand for the Christmas turkey.

Original source: Fleck is a WP man