Currie Cup

Gert Smal insists Bulls win wasn't about him proving a point: 'Just sad what's happened at WP'

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Gert Smal. (Gallo Images)
Gert Smal. (Gallo Images)
  • Bulls Currie Cup mentor and WP legend Gert Smal says his team's comprehensive win in the north-south derby isn't about him proving a point to his former employers.
  • Smal left his post as Province's director of rugby early in 2019 before the union steadily imploded to the point of it being placed under administration.
  • He labelled that descent as "sad", but hopes the union has turned a corner.

Bulls Currie Cup coach and Western Province legend Gert Smal insisted that his side's comprehensive 40-21 victory over the Streeptruie wasn't a reversed two-fingered salute directed at his former employers.

The 60-year-old former Springbok flanker left his post as Province's director of rugby prematurely in early 2019, perceived by some as being one of controversial WP president Zelt Marais' scapegoats as the union steadily imploded.

Smal departed before the myriad dramas related to litigation battles with Investec and Flyt as well as a botched equity deal with MVM Holdings led to SA Rugby placing WP under administration, but was present when the union liquidated its professional arm in late 2016.

He also had to deal with a messy investigation into claims of discrimination made by former Blitzboks coach and Stormers assistant Paul Treu against his franchise colleagues though an independent review concluded his claims didn't have much of a basis.

READ | Marauding Matanzima lights up dominant Bulls victory over Western Province

"I didn't really feel as if this victory was some form of vindication," he said after Wednesday night's triumph.

"What was important is that we continued our good form. It wasn't as a case of WP not treating me well during those five years as DoR (director of rugby)."

Instead, almost as if he foresaw the trouble brewing, Smal decided to go to Japan because of the administrative situation at the union, a saga he labelled as "sad".

"My decision was purely based on what was happening with the union at the time. I was just very disappointed about how certain governance issues were being handled. That's why I left," he said.

"It's sad to see that things eventually went down so badly. But it seems now they've reached a point of return (through the interim administration led by former SA Rugby chief Rian Oberholzer). We'll have to see now how they pull things together and deal with the next set of challenges."

Meanwhile, Smal was unconvinced that his powerful line-up on the night - which was in stark contrast to WP leaving out their first-choice stars - managed to gain a significant psychological advantage ahead of Saturday's United Rugby Championship clash between Jake White's Bulls and John Dobson's Stormers.

"I don't think so. It's a different game and a different approach. Jake and co will prepare the team in the way they see fit," he said.

"All this shows is that there are nice different dynamics taking place."  

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Fixtures
Thu 14 Apr 22 13:00 PM (SAST)
Sigma Lions
The Windhoek Draught Griquas
Wits Rugby Stadium, Johannesburg
SuperSport
Fri 15 Apr 22 14:45 PM (SAST)
DHL Western Province
Toyota Free State XV
DHL Stadium, Cape Town
Sat 16 Apr 22 15:00 PM (SAST)
Cell C Sharks XV
Vodacom Bulls
Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban
SuperSport
Results
Sat 14 May 22
Vodacom Bulls
Vodacom Bulls 43
Sigma Lions
Sigma Lions 37
Sat 14 May 22
Toyota Free State XV
Toyota Free State XV 44
Cell C Sharks XV
Cell C Sharks XV 15
Fri 13 May 22
Airlink Pumas
Airlink Pumas 17
DHL Western Province
DHL Western Province 23
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4. The Windhoek Draught Griquas
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