Robbie Fleck’s tone in a preview package for the 2016 Super 18 where he is full of excitement and ideas and talking with a sense of knowing contrasted massively to the broken hearted soul that came out publicly and basically said he needed someone to show him how after the Stormers play off hiding they received from the Chiefs in Cape Town to exit the competition. It was farcical.
After doing his apprenticeship under Allister Coetzee at the Stormers, ‘Fleckie’ as he is affectionately known, had for some time wanted to have more of a say about the gameplan especially the attack.
During the Currie Cup part of the season in 2015 ‘Fleckie’ coached the Western Province under 21 team where the u-21’s won silverware and played an attractive brand of rugby. Allister Coetzee, the Stormers head coach, after having an abundance of Springboks and very talented players repeatedly failed to achieve much in Superugby, decided to take an option of going to coach in Japan.
Then with the incredible success of Japan in the 2015 RWC the Stormers were quick to sign Eddie Jones the coach who was responsible for Japan’s unexpected success.Two weeks into Eddie Jones’s appointment England made Eddie an offer he could not refuse and probably greased the Stormers up as they let him go with their full blessing. Gert Smal, the director of rugby at Western Province, recommended that Eddie be replaced by John Mitchell. After Thelo Wakefield, the President of the Western Province Rugby Fotball Union, received a call from Oregan Hoskins the then SARU president warning him about hiring ‘Mitch’ as a result Wakefield decided not to hire the Kiwi. Instead after much procrasternation they appointed Robbie Fleck as caretaker coach.
The Stormers 2016 Superugby campaign flattered to deceive. The Stormers were in a group where they never had to face any Kiwi teams. By a long way the easier side of the draw. The only team that proved that they could compete toe to toe with the Kiwi teams was the Lions who soundly beat the Stormers.
By virtue of how bad the teams were in the Stormers side of the draw miraculously the Stormers finished the league part of the season in an overall 3rd position. Which many pundits began questioning how fair this new system was.
The rugby served up by the Stormers was not attacking rugby, which is understandable in the first season of a coaches tenure but even for the layman it was obvious to see that this team was not moving toward an attacking gameplan that was going to better Stormers rugby.
Robbie Fleck like so many Domkrag coaches want with all their heart their team to be succcessful but like so many Domkrag coaches he does not know how to make it happen and does need to be shown. Robbie played for the Stormers and has spent much of his time and energy trying to make this franchise successful as a coach but enthusiasm alone does not cut it at the higher levels of rugby.