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Stormers plan to develop assistant coaches

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It’s not just their playing group the Stormers want to help develop during the Preparation Series, but also their assistant coaches.

Rito Hlungwani, the Stormers’ forwards coach, will be running the team’s training sessions in the build-up to the Griquas match. Picture: Ryan Willkisky/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – It’s not just their playing group the Stormers want to help develop during the Preparation Series, but also their assistant coaches.

Speaking during a media briefing yesterday following their narrow 34-33 loss to the Cheetahs at the weekend, head coach John Dobson explained that the team’s assistant coaches will be taking charge of the group on a rotational basis.

Dobson confirmed that the rotational ‘headcoaching’ gigs would start this week, with assistant coaches Rito Hlungwani, Dawie Snyman and Labeeb Levy all up for an opportunity during the pre-season.

This week, Hlungwani, the Stormers’ forwards coach, will be running the team’s training sessions in the build-up to the Stormers’ next match, against Griquas in Kimberley on Tuesday. Snyman and Levy will take over against the Lions and the Bulls respectively.

Prior to the start of the Preparation Series, Dobson spoke about the importance of giving all their players game time, building depth and giving players the opportunity to play to express themselves before the Rainbow Cup kicks off, and the objective – to help develop and grow – now applies to the support staff as well.

He did, however, make it clear that the buck still stops with him.

“I will still be involved in coaching my department and overseeing things, I will still take responsibility for the performance. As much as we want to build depth and opportunities for our players, the same applies to the coaching staff. We want to create opportunities for these guys and develop these coaches.

“I am still going to be taking responsibility for the performances next Tuesday. There are things that assistant coaches aren’t exposed to – whether that’s selecting or dropping a player, signing off on a training session, speaking to the team, and setting the week’s themes.

“It’s not a university course for a guy like Rito, it’s to give him and the other coaches some experience and insight into what I do. It’s a good experience for him.”

Dobson added that while there is nothing up for grabs, per se, in the Preparation Series, it comes with pressure nonetheless, which is something he believes is a positive for their assistant coaches and their learning.

“It’s not something we can ordinarily do in a normal competition. As you know, this is a preparation series and there is no log or trophy. But there is still a lot of pressure, which is a good thing.”

@WynonaLouw