Kings eye top-rated WP coach


EP official tight-lipped over Cape reports.

There could be a major shake-up in the EP Kings rugby coaching structures if they succeed in their reported quest to sign highly rated Western Province Vodacom Cup coach John Dobson.

Though the Kings would not confirm they have made a swoop for Dobson, reports from Cape Town said that Eastern Province wanted to sign the innovative coach.

EP Kings chief executive Charl Crous said there were vacancies within the coaching structures and that the Kings were in the process of identifying candidates to fill these positions.

“We are not prepared to discuss who those candidates are at this point,” Crous said.

News that Dobson is on the Kings’ wish list comes shortly after defence coach Michael Horak left to join the Sharks and forwards coach Shaun Sowerby left Port Elizabeth to join Montpellier in France.

That means head coach Carlos Spencer is the sole survivor of the Kings’ dismal return to Currie Cup Premier Division rugby, when they lost nine of 10 matches.

At this stage it is not known whether the Kings, if they succeed in their quest for Dobson, would appoint him as head coach or place him in the vacant position of director of rugby.

Dobson may also be considered, in light of Crous’s statement, for the vacancies left by Horak and Sowerby.

Though there has been no official announcement, defence guru Omar Mouneimne, formerly of the Southern Kings and Edinburgh, looks set to replace Horak.

Reports from Cape Town say Stormers and Western Province coach Allister Coetzee is in high demand to coach in the Japanese league and that Dobson’s services are being sought by the Kings to become their head coach.

WP director of rugby Gert Smal said they would like to keep all current coaches at the union for the next three years and were busy with negotiations.

“We’re looking at a structure in which we can stimulate the coaches to enhance their development. I’d like to have the negotiations sorted by the end of the month,” Smal said.

Dobson is a keen student of the game and last year he paid for his own trip to England to learn skills from rugby league side Wigan and union team Northampton.

A former coach of the UCT Ikeys, Dobson won the Vodacom Cup with WP in 2012 and also coached the union’s U21 team to Currie Cup success.

The Kings start their Vodacom Cup rugby campaign against the Kenyan Simba XV at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on March 21.

Last year, the Kings slumped to a 17-10 defeat against the Kenyans and were unable to reach the knockout stage of the competition.

Besides the Simba XV clash, the Kings also have home Cup matches against Western Province (April 11), South Western Districts (April 25) and the Sharks (May 9).

The Kings will use the Vodacom Cup to start preparing for the Currie Cup by picking their best players.

– George Byron

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