After the past two year’ series of unedifying spats, strange decisions and financial embarrassments followed by the recent complaints from their referees about assaults at matches, non-payment and other unsavoury incidents, the WP and Stormers have walked into a new controversy.
It seems that the WPRU’s amateur section and the professional arm who have been at loggerheads in an arm-wrestle for control of the union simply cannot get it right.
And the players, individuals in the system and rugby in general are the losers.
The latest controversy concerns the union’s restructuring process of the management and coaching teams. It would have resulted in a number of contracts not being renewed, reported Rapport on Sunday.
Pressure from the WPRU’s clubs brought a halt - and who knows, a possible end? - to the rugby bosses’ intention to reduce the management and coaching staff of the WP and the Stormers.
The WP’s objective would have meant the end of the contracts of among others former Stormers coach Robbie Fleck, his forward coach Russell Winter, former Blitzboks coach Paul Treu and a number of junior coaches.
Rapport reported on Sunday that the top management of the WP business arm met with four of the coaching personnel over the past fortnight, and that the president of the WP Rugby Union Zelt Marais was present at the meetings with Fleck, Paul Feeney and Winter but not at that of Treu.
When the clubs were informed that Treu, appointed as Performance and Innovation Manager of the Stormers in April, was part of the proposed severing proses, they reacted with anger. Marais had a meeting to hear their complaints and reservations – and the restructuring process with the coaching personnel was cancelled (or probably put on hold).
The WPRU executive met this week as did the business arm’s board on Friday. They have undertaken to resolve the problem as soon as possible, according to Rapport.
As things now stand, the head coach of the Stormers, John Dobson, is the only appointed coach of the union. Like the WPRU’s junior coaches, he still hasn’t received a contract offer, reports Rapport, who mentions that the only coaching personnel who are not affected are Jerome Paarwater, head of junior rugby, and Greg Hechter, the high performance manager, who both are permanent appointments.