Stormers' structures in place
Cape Town – Western Province have concluded new contracts with Rassie Erasmus and Allister Coetzee, tying them down to key positions in Cape rugby until the end of 2012.
Rob Wagner, managing director of WP Rugby (Pty) Ltd, confirmed the news to Sport24 on Tuesday and also expressed his optimism about the Stormers’ prospects for this year’s Super14.
“There are three reasons why I’m confident about the new season. The first is the rugby institute that has been established at Stellenbosch, the second is the High Performance Centre in Bellville, and the third is team management and players,” said Wagner.
“We are now entering the third year with this management (Erasmus and Coetzee). The extension of their contracts will help establish confidence among the players.”
Coetzee has been contracted as head coach, while Erasmus will be responsible for everything that is rugby at WP as senior professional coach.
“It’s important to think creatively and outside the box. An example of this is Rassie’s recognition of Allister as coach and his ability to get the best out of players,” said Wagner.
“Allister has coached at World Cup level and Rassie felt he could be used as head coach.
“Rassie is keeping an overall eye on the institute, high performance centre and rugby culture in the province, but continues to don a tracksuit and coach.
“It’s an innovative step in the right direction because Rassie is maximising the strengths of the coaching team. And Allister is definitely a strength.”
Wagner also believes the Stormers are on the verge of reaping the benefits of hard work on their structures.
“In the past we used different training fields. The fact that there is now a centrally-controlled training facility in Bellville will help establish stability and confidence,” he said.
“With the institute we also have a base where young players can be identified and develop under the guidance of Steph Nel and Jacques Hanekom.”
Province’s new Springbok centre Juan de Jongh is an example of the young talent coming through the ranks.
“All the facilities have now been established to attain success as a professional team,” said Wagner.
“I have to credit Tobie Titus (Western Province Rugby Union president) and Pat Kuhn (chairperson of WP Rugby Pty Ltd) that the high performance centre and institute were established under their leadership.”
The Stormers struggled with their attacking options in 2009, but that should no longer be the case following the acquisition of Jaque Fourie and Bryan Habana.
Wagner likened their arrival to that of Dick Muir and James Small in 1997.
“Like Dick and James you should not view them in isolation, but they bring heaps of experience and have won competitions at the highest level. They will give the team an injection of confidence,” said Wagner.
“We now have players of the calibre of Habana, Fourie, Schalk Burger, Ricky Januarie, Conrad Jantjes and Andries Bekker. They all still have good playing years ahead of them.
“Our forwards were previously viewed as a weakness, but this team has been built over a few years and we can see how players such as Brock Harris, Andries Bekker, Francois Louw and Wicus Blaauw are coming into their own.”