Venter, Smith 'dismiss' Lions coaching rumours

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 09:22

REACTION: Denials all-round. This is the reaction to reports that the Lions are about to 'discard' one of their most successfully coaches.

Media reports suggested attack coach Swys de Bruin, one of the most celebrated members of the highly successful Lions coaching team, is heading to Cape Town - because he is no longer wanted in Johannesburg.

According to the report Cheetahs and Springbok attack coach Franco Smith has been earmarked to take over as Lions head coach from Johan Ackermann, who will head to English Premiership club Gloucester after the completion of the Super Rugby season.

Bok defence consultant Brendan Venter has also been linked to a permanent position at Ellis Park.

However, Venter and Smith have both publicly distanced themselves from the report and said

"To end speculation, I still believe in @CheetahsRugby," Smith said on his twitter feed.

He added that he is "grateful" for the opportunity to be part of the Springbok coaching panel.

"Lions not an option," he said.

Venter's reaction was in a similar vein.

"I am fascinated, by reports suggesting I am joining the Lions," Venter said.

"They are a great team, but in Swys have the perfect replacement for Ackers [Ackermann].

"I have no desire to be a full time rugby coach at this stage of my life. My boys are at school and my medical practice is my priority."

Meanwhile Harold Verster, CEO of the Cheetahs, also dismissed the reports that Smith is leaving Bloemfontein.

"It is factually inaccurate," Verster said.

"Franco [Smith] has a contract with us till 2020.

"We have plans for him for the future and he will slot into a very senior position [at the Cheetahs] and he will remain with the Springboks.

"Should he depart [from the Cheetahs], he will forfeit his Springbok contract, because that is the agreement with us.

"Franco also gave me an assurance that he is going nowhere. There is no doubt that he is with us and will remain [with the Cheetahs]."

Verster said the issue they had to resolve was Smith's involvement with the Springboks and how he fits in at the Boks and the Cheetahs.

"That has been carefully set out," the Cheetahs boss said.

Rudolf Straeuli, CEO of Lions Rugby Company (Pty) Ltd, also dismissed the reports - labelling them "malicious rumour mongering".

@rugby365com

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Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 07h35 Christchurch
Golden Lions v Griquas 10h00 Johannesburg
Lions v Hurricanes 12h30 Ellis Park
Sharks v Pumas 15h00 Durban
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 12h30 Bloemfontein
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 43 | 36
Sat, 22 July 2017
Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28