PRO14

Cheetahs sign new fitness guru from Maties

Andre Smith during his playing days for Maties (Gallo Images)
Andre Smith during his playing days for Maties (Gallo Images)

The Cheetahs have announced the appointment of Andre Smith as their new strength and conditioning coach.

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He replaces Quintin Kruger, who will be leaving the Bloemfontein franchise at the end of May to pursue a new career opportunity. Kruger joined Free State Rugby in November 2010 to work with the junior sides and was promoted four years later as strength and conditioning coach of the senior team.  

"Quintin's energy and passion played a big part in the well-being and success of the side, having to adapt to new and challenging circumstances. Free State Rugby wishes him well on his future endeavours," the Cheetahs said via a press statement

Smith will join the Cheetahs in June.

He has been the fitness coach of Varsity Cup champions, Maties, since 2013, having also played Varsity Cup as a flyhalf for the Stellenbosch team and UJ.

He was also the strength and conditioning coach of the SA Schools team in 2016, 2017 and 2019, while in 2016 he was responsible for the conditioning of the Junior Springbok team and the SA 'A' team in 2017.

At Maties, Smith worked alongside current Cheetahs head coach Hawies Fourie, who coached the Stellenbosch students for four seasons

Maties flourished under Fourie's guidance, reaching the Varsity Cup final in his first two seasons before winning back-to-back titles.

Meanwhile, the Cheetahs are making sure they remain in the best possible shape as rugby takes a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The PRO14 tournament is currently suspended and it's looking increasingly likely that the 2019/2020 season will not be completed.

SA Rugby has, however, formulated plans of a local domestic competition if the country's lockdown restrictions for sports events are lifted.

That would see the Cheetahs, long with their PRO14 counterparts the Southern Kings, compete against South Africa's four Super Rugby outfits, the Sharks, Stormers, Bulls and Lions.

When the PRO14 was halted, the Cheetahs were fourth in Conference A, with six wins from 13 matches.

- Compiled by Herman Mostert

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