The Stormers Super Rugby set-up received a certain English flavour – even if it was just for one day.
Former England head coach Stuart Lancaster has been spotted at the Bellville High Performance Centre on Monday where the Stormers’ squad resumed their preparations after completing a four day camp at Wilderness last Sunday.
While the Stormers management – initially – didn’t utter a word about Lancaster’s presence at their sessions, it could only boost the input the new head coach Robbie Fleck will bag on in his first full season as head coach of the Capetonians’ Super Rugby campaign.
It was thought Lancaster at this stage could be seen as a contributing consultant, at least, who could share his vast experience of being England’s head coach for four years, experiences that the Stormers young coaching staff will gladly soak in.
However the Stormers management later said Lancaster was only there for one day, looking at the various coaching set-ups, experiences he has also had in Australia and New Zealand.
While the WPRU have put their faith in Fleck, who had been the Stormers backline coach under departed coach Allister Coetzee for about eight years, the input of Director of Rugby Gert Smal is also seen as vital as a former coach of the Stormers and Western Province and being a former forward coach of both Ireland and the Boks.
Lancaster of course walked away from the England job late last year but to his credit he resigned before he was likely to be sacked after England became the first host nation to fail to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup.
He however slowly managed to rebuild England as a powerful rugby nation the last four years and even in his first year he managed to steer England to a competitive series loss in 2012 which was also former Bok coach Heyneke Meyer’s first three Test matches in charge and after defeats in the first two Test they pushed the Boks to a draw in the third played out in Port Elizabeth.
The Boks edged England in the first Test 22-17 in Durban, while they also won the second Test 36-27 at Ellis Park, while the third Test ended in a 14-14 draw in PE.
The Stormers could do with such expertise as they want to build on their status of being the only SA team to have qualified for last season’s Super Rugby playoffs which unfortunately ended unceremoniously with a 39-19 drubbing by the Brumbies in the wildcard playoffs at a Newlands.
It was hopefully that hammering, also Coetzee’s last in charge, which hopefully convinced the Stormers braintrust that a defensive mindset will never be enough to finally win this competition.
Five losses out of six in playoff matches since 2007 should put that argument to bed.