Q&A with Dobbo and Fleckie – ITSC launch

Tank Lanning

At the official launch of the Ikey Tigers Supporters Club in the new – and sensational – club pub on the Green Mile, I had the pleasure of putting a few questions to Stormers coach Robbie Fleck and WP coach John Dobson over a few beers.

Publican and loyal Ikey servant Greg Bax had dished up a tasty smorgasbord of biltong, droe wros, boerewors and burgers, and with our thirsts quenched via a few well taken cold ones, the vibe was good by the time the three of us took to the stage.

Dobbo took us to a VC final in 2010 and played a massive role in the 2011 win. As Current Currie Cup coach he did bloody well last year to beat the Bulls in an away semi to make the final. Won the Vodacom Cup in 2012 and lifted the U21 title with WP in 2010 and 2013. Published author, Founder of Rugby 365, LLB graduate and recent MA grad from UCT in creative writing.

Fleckie is a former Springbok, Stormers, WP, Bath and Ikey centre, and current head coach of the Stormers. He made his Bok debut in 1999 against Italy aged 23. He scored 10 tries in 31 appearances for the Boks, which included beating the All Blacks twice and scoring 2 tries against them! Fleckie started school at Wynberg, then came to Bishops where we could not quite get the Wynberg out of him.

These evenings are made special given that they are off the record, so much of the juicy stuff will remain where it belongs – in the pub – but we did get some great stories from both of them about their time at both Bishops and the Ikey Tigers, along with a few corkers from Fleckie re his time at Bath and with the Boks.

Below a few snippets to whet your appetite for the next ITSC event…

Tank: Still awaiting that call from Gert?

Fleck: Yep, nothing official just yet, but it does look like we will keep the same coaching group together for 2017.

Tank: What’s with the 22 man squads for in the Currie Cup

Dobbo: Ja, it’s sad. Implemented for cost reasons I hear, yet they are happy for the U20’s to play with 23 man squads. It makes it so easy to cheat if you are under pressure come scrum time, because you can manipulate the system by faking an injury to your front row.

Tank: So you wrote these books about this absolute freak Jason Brydon the paint salesman, aka the Jasonator …

Dobbo: I used to worry about my old man reading the stories about Jase getting to second base, but now I am more concerned about President Wakefield taking a gander. The Jasonator is not exactly pro quotas.

Tank: Brad Barritt, The Force and Varsity Cup are trying to prove that you can play and study. Can you?

Fleck: Sadly, these days, it’s basically impossible to study and be a professional rugby player

Tank: Are SA players skilled and conditioned enough to play this “New” game?

Fleck: I am not sure our players have truly grasped what being professional means. The work ethic of a New Zealand player is quite simply on another level. They will work 7 days a week all day, using the latest in gadgets that will measure things like metres made per second, and contributions per minute, whereas our guys are a little spoilt. They Kiwi players will stay on after official training, and spend hours on individual skills. Our guys tend to go home.

Tank: How do we keep opposition looseheads and tightheads having a beer after a game?

Fleck: The Kiwi players will come to our changing room after the game with a beer and water in hand. They will have that beer and then move onto water. They have a massive emphasis on recovery. Our guys are still likely to be tempted by that second beer.

Dobbo: The gap between amateur and pro rugby is getting bigger, which is a bit sad. It’s getting to be a bit like American football which is all pro, all conditioning, all stats, and all about that next signing. Sadly. Perhaps rugby can keep a mix?

Tank: Even school rugby seems to have taken on a professional tinge?

Dobbo: Ja, it’s a bit of a double edged sword. Our school system is a key strength given the athletes we produce, but I don’t like that we are now coaching our school sides to win derbies via game structure and not developing skill. It’s very different in New Zealand, where they appreciate – and encourage – skill and art. I am guessing they have fewer old boys that get their panties in a twist over a few poor results.

Robbie Fleck with ITSC-member Tom Malibuye

John Dobson – 2015 Currie Cup Rugby

Allister Coetzee and Robbie Fleck

John Dobson during the Varsity Cup

About the Ikey Tigers Supporters Club (ITSC)

Sure it’s about raising a bit of money, and boy does the club need it – but also about making the Green Mile and The Ikey a place you want to be, and are proud to bring family and mates.

Yes, you will get a burger, some snacks and a few beers at big home games in the “Little Ikey”, a cool ITSC jacket, your business logo on the website, a chance to mentor some good people, and 1 for the Road member benefit …

But essentially we want to keep this great club alive offering young players the same opportunity it afforded most of us…

Building on work of the 200 club, and the Ikey Foundation, we hope this will be the final and lasting guise of what is essentially the life blood of a tribe. We will host the annual dinner, and one of our primary goals is to get the pub back in the mix as a must stay place after games – and even away from games.

If you would like to join the ITSC community, head to the Ikey Tigers Website, or contact Kevin Forte (kevin.forte@ikeytigers.com) for more information.