Smith stays loyal to Cheetahs

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 08:38
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REACTION: Cheetahs coach Franco Smith has bucked the trend that resulted in an exodus of coaching brains trust from South Africa.

Already top coaches such as Jake White (Montpellier in France), Rassie Erasmus (Munster, Ireland), Jacques Nienaber (Munster, Ireland), Brendan Venter (Italian national team), Gary Gold (England, Worcester Warriors), Jimmy Stonehouse (Brave Lupus, Japan), Frans Ludeke (Kubota Spears, Japan), Andre Tredoux (Red Hurricanes, Japan) and Dawie Theron (Red Hurricanes, Japan) have headed abroad.

Some of these coaches may return home soon - depending on which grapevine you are listening to.

However, Smith has confirmed that he will not be heading abroad soon, despite the lure of a lucrative contract in Ireland.

"I can confirm that Connacht approached me in December," he told rugby365 in an interview from Harare, where the Cheetahs are on a pre-season training camp.

However, Smith revealed that he will remain with the Cheetahs for now, even though he may consider his options in a few years.

"I have decided to complete what I have started [at the Cheetahs]," he said, adding that he was honoured by the interest shown in him.

"I said I have a plan to make Cheetahs a sustainable power and I will continue on that course."

Connacht are looking for a coach to replace Samoan and New Zealand great Pat Lam, who is moving to Bristol in England next season.

Smith, who travelled with the Springboks in an advisory capacity on the year-end tour in November, has been linked to a more permanent Bok role.

However, at this stage those appointments are all under wraps at the national body.

Smith is not the only South African Super Rugby coach in the sights of European clubs.

According to unconfirmed reports Lions mentor Johan Ackermann is being courted by an unnamed French club.

By Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

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