Robbie Fleck, head coach of the Stormers chats to media during the Super Rugby 2019 training session for the Stormers at Newlands Rugby Stadium in Cape Town on 25 April 2019 Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Robbie Fleck possibly faces arguably his most stressful week in his four-year tenure at the helm of the Stormers.

And the irony is that the Stormers don’t even have a match this coming weekend.

But after his team suffered their sixth defeat of the season last Saturday evening against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, the lights are now firmly on the former Springbok centre.

There are constant murmurs within the Newlands corridors that Fleck may not get to see out the remaining months of his contract that expires at the end of this season.

With John Dobson already appointed as Fleck’s successor, the powers-that-be may just feel that it is best for everyone if he is relieved of his duties now already.

It really would be a bitter pill for the 43-year-old for Saturday’s defeat was once again the result of the players’ inability to stand up in the pressure moments.

The Stormers were the equals of the Jaguares at the Estadio José Amalfitani, and possibly even better in certain aspects of the game.

But yet they are the ones picking up the pieces.

Having stayed in touch with their hosts throughout, the moment of truth arrived with the clock close to running its course when the Stormers had a line-out inside the Jaguares’ 22-metre area.

The plan was simple: reclaim possession from the throw-in to set up the much-vaunted rolling maul. It’s a drill the Stormers complete at their Bellville High Performance Centre training base with regularity.

But with the lights at its brightest, hooker Scarra Ntubeni arms wilted and the looping ball was intercepted by a Jaguares jumper and the game was lost.

Fleck was incensed, and rightfully so, for it was not the first time his players have not held their collective nerve.

It was a carbon-copy of the script that unfolded in the first match of the Australasian tour against the Hurricanes in Wellington. With the match also on the line in the New Zealand capital, the Stormers line-out went walkabout at a crucial juncture.

There were mitigating factors in Argentina due to JD Schickerling having left the field early-on which forced Cobus Wiese to move to the second row after starting on the side of the scrum, but the Stormers still had the experience of Springbok Eben Etzebeth in the line-out at the time.

While coaches are responsible for their team’s outcomes, the players should also be held accountable for their failings.

And at this point of the season, they are the ones leaving their coach to face the music for their indiscretions every week.


Cape Argus

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