Smith turns his back on the Boks
NEWS: One of Allister Coetzee's assistants is lost to the Springboks.
It was revealed that Franco Smith has decided to return full-time to the Cheetahs.
He has decided not to accept an offer to remain on the Springbok coaching staff.
It was reported that South African Rugby Union Director of Rugby of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, had asked Smith to move to Cape Town permanently.
This follows after Coetzee was axed last week - or accepted a severance package, depending on which grapevine you believe.
Smith has opted to stay on as Director of Rugby and head coach of the Cheetahs for the next two seasons.
Smith will be replacing Rory Duncan, who also revealed on Thursday that he will be leaving for Worcester Warriors after the 2017/2018 Pro14 campaign.
"Free State Rugby had long interviews and discussions about the situation and the process was completed in good spirit," Harold Verster, Managing Director of the Free State Cheetahs (Pty) Ltd, said.
"Free State Rugby is excited and thankful that Franco made the decision to stay.
"His rugby expertise and coaching ability are invaluable to the Cheetahs."
* Meanwhile The Cheetahs confirmed that Duncan will be leaving the Cheetahs, to join Worcester Warriors in England.
Having won the Currie Cup as captain of the Free State Cheetahs in 2007 and serving as not only Director of Rugby, but also as head coach of the Currie Cup and Pro14 side, Duncan has been a vital part of the Cheetahs over last four years.
He has made a lasting impact not only on the field, but also in the boardroom.
During his tenure as Director of Rugby, Duncan played an integral part in opening the doors for the Cheetahs in the Northern Hemisphere and has gone on to coach the team to eight victories thus far in the 2017/2018 Guinness Pro14.
"We have great appreciation for what Rory has done for Free State Rugby over the last four years and we wish him well," said Verster.
"Free State Rugby thank Rory for his commitment and dedication during his time at the Cheetahs and is proud to send yet another product of the Cheetah into the world and wish him well on his future endeavours.
"Just as Rassie Erasmus and Niel Powell, Rory is also another great example that Free State Rugby is truly a breeding ground of opportunity."