Coaching changes for FS Cheetahs

2015-05-13 06:00
IN THE HOT SEAT: Franco Smith, new Super Rugby and Currie Cup coach for the Cheetahs. 
Conrad Bornman

IN THE HOT SEAT: Franco Smith, new Super Rugby and Currie Cup coach for the Cheetahs. Photo: Conrad Bornman

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FRANCO SMITH has been announced as the new head coach for the Toyota Cheetahs, while Rory Duncan has been promoted to the director of rugby position.

These announcements were made by Harold Verster, managing director of the Free State Cheetahs (Pty) Ltd, during a press conference that was held at the Free State Stadium on Friday.

Verster said Smith will have full say over the coaching of both the Super Rugby and Currie Cup teams of the Toyota Cheetahs and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.

“We wish Franco Smith the best of luck with his new role and look forward to a new era in Cheetah Rugby with Franco and his coaching team for the next four years,” Verster said.

“Franco will be a member of Free State Rugby’s coaching and rugby committees. He will also have the privilege to appoint his assistant coaches and team management for the different competitions,” he added.

Smith, who won the Varsity Cup as a coach for the Shimlas this year, was part of the Cheetahs coaching and management team that won the Currie Cup in 2005 and 2006.

“I’m happy about my new appointment as the Cheetahs coach. I would like to thank the management of Free State Rugby for presenting this opportunity to me,” Smith said.

“As I’m sitting here today, I realise that I have big boots to fill. Naka has done a wonderful job as Cheetahs coach and it is going to be a big challenge for me to continue from where he left off. I want to wish him well in his future endeavours,” he added.

The down-to-earth mentor has coached abroad where he guided Treviso of Italy to three consecutive Italian championship victories. Smith represented South Africa in 18 matches and 9 test matches as a player. He further represented the Free State, Griquas, Blue Bulls and Pumas in the Currie Cup and also the Bulls on Super Rugby level.

Meanwhile, Corniel van Zyl has been earmarked to take the position as forwards coach for the Toyota Cheetahs.

Van Zyl, who is currently a player/coach at Treviso, is no stranger to the Free State. He was part of the Cheetah team who won the Currie Cup in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Corniel continued his rugby career at Treviso and represented Italy in the 2011 World Cup and played in seven tests for Italy. ) Os du Randt, fowards coach, will be leaving the Cheetahs at the end of the Super Rugby competition. He has accepted a coaching offer overseas.) Ashwell Rafferty will be the team manager for the Free State Cheetahs for the 2015 Currie Cup.) Franco Smith and Hawies Fourie are busy negotiating his (Hawies’s) position as backline coach for the 2016 Super Rugby season

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