Super Rugby

Franco out if Cheetahs lose Super Rugby status

Franco Smith (Gallo Images)
Franco Smith (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Franco Smith will not continue to coach the Cheetahs if they are axed from the Super Rugby competition.

SANZAAR, the southern hemisphere’s rugby governing body, recently announced that the Super Rugby competition will be reduced from 18 to 15 teams from next year, with South Africa losing two teams and Australia one.

There has been no official announcement regarding which teams will be eliminated, but the general consensus is that the Cheetahs and Southern Kings will be the two South African teams to go.

Smith, who is also the Springboks' attack and skills coach, is contracted at the Cheetahs until the end of the 2019 season.

However, according Afrikaans newspaper, Rapport, he will not coach the Cheetahs if they are excluded from Super Rugby.

There are talks that the Cheetahs could join the PRO12 competition in Europe.

The PRO12 - an annual competition involving 12 professional sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales - runs from September to May which means that due to his Springbok commitments, Smith would not be able to coach the Cheetahs.

The suggestion that two South African teams join the PRO12 was recently made by former Southern Spears CEO Tony McKeever.

“Personally, I think the PRO14 TV ratings will blow Super Rugby away and you might very well see a reversal of the exodus of players from South Africa and rather to these two South African PRO14 teams,” McKeever said in a recent interview with Sport24.

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