Western Province director of rugby Nick Mallett has finally clarifed his role with the union.
While Mallett has not done any hands-on coaching with the Stormers/WP this year, embattled head coach Kobus van der Merwe was allegedly unhappy with the way Mallett “interfered” with the side during the Super 14.
Mallett has now backed off completely and given Van der Merwe enough rope to hang himself with during the Currie Cup. If WP fail to reach the final, Fester will be history, and Mallett will be able to appoint a new coach.
Here is the press release from Mallett in full, released on Thursday:
“After a scheduled process of evaluation of rugby in the province and a year in the job of director of rugby, WP Rugby have as per my recommendations agreed to a refocus of the director of rugby position.
“The position requires a global focus on rugby strategy and leadership within the province. Operationally over the past few months what occurred, was an on the ground involvement and a focus on the senior teams.
“As the director of rugby, my approach will now be more global and not as heavily elite team focused. More specifically, I will redirect my efforts to include teams at all levels in the province, the immediate establishment of our academy and High Performance Centre and will work more closely with our shareholders, sponsors and the rugby task team, on issues of rugby excellence, leadership and strategy.
“A primary directive remains to provide hands on guidance to the Vodacom WP U13, U16, U18, U19, U21 and Club teams within the province. Skill levels of both players and coaches will be targeted for improvement, ensuring successful feeder systems are in place for the senior teams.
“Building on this, strategic vision, leadership and hands on support will be provided to facilitate the immediate set up (2006) of an Academy and (2007) of a High Performance Centre (HPC). The Academy will serve to provide extended, concentrated support and skill enhancement to youngsters, whilst the HPC will benefit the elite players in the Vodacom Stormers, Vodacom WP (Vodacom Cup and Absa Currie Cup) and Vodacom WP U21 players. These structures will quickly help ensure better rounded and prepared players at all levels.
“For the evolvement and enhancement of the game in the province I will also work closely with our shareholders, sponsor and the rugby task committee of WP Rugby, on a strategic level.
“At a senior team level (Super 14, Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup), my approach will not be a hands on one. I have elected not to become involved in team selection, contracting, or game plans, all of which will be the prerogative of the respective head coach. This remains common global practice and whilst the head coach will have added responsibility within the structures and vision of the game in the WP, my commitment will be to provide expertise, guidance and strategy, as and when required by the respective head coach.
“Given my responsibility as director of rugby, for global rugby focus within the province, all coaches at all levels from U13, to Super 14, will continue to be assessed and evaluated by myself. I in turn will present my findings and recommendations to the board and executive committee of WP Rugby.
“My recommended refocus to the director of rugby position will ensure a more strategically sound use of my energies at all levels within the province to ensure the unlocking of potential and the evolvement of our game.”