CAPE TOWN - While a couple of things might not be going the Stormers’ way at the moment, assistant coach Paul Treu on Monday emphatically stated that their coaching set-up isn’t one of them.
Earlier this year the Stormers announced that Treu - who was formerly the Stormers’ defence coach - would take charge of all structured attack and defence (set-piece attack up until the third phase and set-piece defence for only the first phase, strike play and the first fold on defence).
Paul Feeney - who joined the side as backline and skills coach late 2016 - took over all unstructured attack (from third phase) and defence. Russell Winter, last year’s forwards coach, went on to the role of assistant coach for forwards and contact situations.
And according to Treu, these changes haven’t led to uncertainty in the camp. “When things aren’t going well, everyone always wants to blame something,” Treu said.
“One thing where there is no concern is that there is no split or uncertainty in terms of our roles as management. We are as united and speaking from one voice as we can. There is no uncertainty when it comes to what my role or Paul Feeney’s role or any of the other coaches’ roles are.”
“We have done it in a certain way because we felt that for us to interact better as coaches it doesn’t matter what our titles are, we work together as a management team. There’s no division. There’s a lot of people speculating on social media and in the media, saying this is why it’s not working. We work as a team, there’s one voice. ”
In terms of the team’s results this year (they’ve lost all six of their away games and won three at home), Treu said the coaching team has to stay positive as the team prepare for their seven remaining games - with five of those fixtures happening at Newlands. And following their latest loss at the weekend against the Sharks, he was also confident everybody in the team knows what’s expected of them from here onwards.
“I think we had a good meeting on Saturday night after the game in terms of where Robbie Fleck wants them to be and what his expectations are. I think we’re all disappointed with where we are and it is going to be a tough battle. We never thought we’d actually have to fight our way back into it,” Treu said.
“Sometimes you have to realise where you are, and what needs to be done in order to turn things around. For us as a management team it’s important we stay confident and positive. You have to take that energy into the team.
"It’s not easy if you come off a couple of losses, but we can’t fault our players on effort and the energy they bring to the field and to training. As long as the players go out and do their best, we can’t fault them.”
“Everyone understands what needs to happen over the next few weeks. We go into every game with a plan regarding how we want to play and how we want to attack and how we want to defend.
"Even on tour, we could have won our first game against the Waratahs if we had taken our opportunities or if one or two things went our way. It’s tough to go week in and week out and you can’t get the win. It’s human that your confidence is going to take a knock. ”
The Stormers have emphasised their plans to grow their attacking game, and Treu said they want to continue building in order to achieve a style the players will enjoy and the fans will want to watch.
“Sometimes when you’re under pressure and you tend to become more conservative, we’ve actually gone the other way. We definitely want to use the width of the field and get our backs excited. We have some of the most exciting backs in the business, we have some of the most physical forwards in the business.
"We really want to open up the game. We want to play a game that’s exciting for people to come and watch. We’re not going to go backwards, we’re not going to play a kicking game. We want to play the way we can. We’ve seen it in patches, and we’re going to get our mojo back.”