Franco: It was tough to say bye bye to Boks

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

Cape Town - Franco Smith opted to leave his role as Springbok assistant coach due to personal reasons.

It was announced on Thursday that Smith would replace Rory Duncan as head coach of the Cheetahs after the current PRO14 campaign.

Duncan has accepted an offer to coach English club Worcester Warriors.

It was reported last month that that Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby’s new director of rugby, gave Smith the choice of moving to Cape Town and remain part of the Bok coaching staff, or staying in Bloemfontein and giving up his role with the national team.

While serving as attack and skills coach of the Boks, Smith had also fulfilled the role of Cheetahs director of rugby.

Erasmus wanted Smith to live close to SA Rugby’s headquarters - which is situated in Plattekloof just outside Cape Town.  

When probed on why he opted to stay with the Cheetahs, Smith told Netwerk24: “My decision to stay in Bloemfontein was due to a number of personal reasons. It was however a very tough decision.”

Smith’s family is settled in Bloemfontein and had he opted to stay with the Boks he would have spent long periods away from home.

He will now fulfil the roles of director of rugby and head coach of the Cheetahs for the next two seasons.

Harold Verster, managing director of the Cheetahs, commented on Smith’s decision via a press statement:  

“Free State Rugby had long interviews and discussions about the situation and the process was completed in good spirit. Free State Rugby is excited and thankful that Franco made the decision to stay.  His rugby expertise and coaching ability is invaluable to the Cheetahs.”

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