Stormers’ players meet with management over coaching structures

eneral view during the DHL Stormers Press Conference at DHL Newlands Boardroom on December 14, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
eneral view during the DHL Stormers Press Conference at DHL Newlands Boardroom on December 14, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Stormers management confirmed that they met with a player delegation to discuss the future coaching structures at the union in the wake of uncertainty over the role of isolated assistant-coach Paul Treu.

Players were called into a meeting on Monday according to the union (although at least one source said it was the other way around) as players are seeking clarity on Treu’s status.

At the weekend a news report suggested that Treu‚ who lodged a complaint against the union last year‚ and which was dismissed after an independent investigation‚ could take over as performance director from current director of rugby Gert Smal.

That claim‚ and what Treu’s current role at the union is‚ were not publicly addressed on Tuesday.

Sources alleged to TimesLIVE that trust had been broken between Treu and most players in the wake of the investigation last year‚ and that his future employment would play a role in their decisions to stay at the union or not.

A statement from the Stormers on Tuesday said: “The meeting was fruitful and it was agreed by everyone in attendance that steps need to be taken urgently to resolve the uncertainty surrounding the future coaching and team management structures.

“In terms of good corporate governance Western Province Rugby is currently discussing‚ strategising and planning the optimal coaching and team management structures for 2020 and beyond.

“This is being done now to retain and attract as many quality athletes into the future‚ many of whom come off contract at the end of 2019.”

There was no mention of Treu specifically and no indication of what his current role is. The former Blitzboks coach has not been part of the Stormers’ pre-season sessions but is still on the union payroll.

His position is at the heart of the issue. Many players will have lucrative and enticing options overseas in a post-World Cup year‚ but the lure of remaining until at least 2021 when the British & Irish Lions tour SA‚ is a strong reason to stay.

But most senior players do not want to be locked into contracts if Treu is going to become the performance director – or at the very least‚ understand what the union’s plans are.

“While it is unfortunate that there was some misinformation in the public domain‚ we are confident of making meaningful progress to ensure that the Stormers and team management have the best chance of success in the 2019 season and beyond‚” WP Chief Executive Paul Zacks said.

Zacks added that‚ contrary to some media reports‚ Western Province Rugby has the full backing of all major sponsors.

“We have got incredible sponsors who have stood together with us through thick and thin without exception‚” he said.

“Given the quality‚ depth and experience in our current playing squad we are excited about what we can achieve this season and are all looking forward to what the possibilities are.”

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