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    Paulse: Negative off-field issues affecting Stormers

    2019-02-19 19:17

    Cape Town - Former Stormers wing Breyton Paulse is concerned that off-field rumblings are having an adverse effect on the team.

    The former Springbok was commenting on Afrikaans rugby programme SuperRugby on Monday night when he shared his concerns discussing the Stormers' 40-3 loss to the Bulls in their Super Rugby opener in Pretoria at the weekend.

    Paulse said head coach Robbie Fleck should be feeling the heat.

    "Obviously there's pressure on Fleck. After a performance like this there will naturally be pressure on any coach. And it's a build-up of a few off-field issues... there are many reports of off-field rumblings and these types of things aren't good for a team's morale, especially not if you have to prepare for Super Rugby," Paulse said.

    The Stormers are yet to confirm their coaching staff for this year's Super Rugby competition, with assistant coach Paul Treu's role in particular unclear. He was the subject of much controversy towards the end of 2018 when he accused the Stormers coaching staff, led by head coach Fleck, of discrimination.

    An independent review cleared Fleck and the management team of any wrongdoing, but it seems now that the relationship between Treu and his colleagues has soured. 

    There have also been reports that the WP Rugby Union's amateur arm was eager to replace director of rugby Gert Smal with Treu and wanted Peter de Villiers, a former Springbok coach currently in charge of Zimbabwe, to become the head coach of the Stormers.

    It was subsequently reported that these appointments appear unlikely but Paulse added: "The coaching team has not even officially been unveiled yet. There are so many things that bring negativity around the team. The players just want to play rugby but there are so many things happening that you can see it filters through to the players and that's very dangerous."

    The former Springbok wing, however, acknowledged that plaudits should also be given to the Bulls.

    "The Stormers were very poor but you have to give the Bulls credit for the manner in which they approached this game. Everything was clinical... guys like Handre Pollard started to dominate the game. And the forwards made life very difficult for the Stormers in the lineouts and scrums."

    The Stormers host the Lions at Newlands this Saturday (kick-off 17:15).

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