Franco Smith will remain head coach of the Free State Cheetahs for the Currie Cup Premier Division that starts on the weekend of 12/13 July with the final on 7 September. He will also stay on as the Cheetahs director of rugby until the end of November.
This was confirmed in a statement by the board of directors of the Free State Cheetahs (Pty) Ltd.
Smith, who has been appointed as coach of the Italy national team from 1 January will be succeeded by the new to-be-appointed coach who will take over the reins of the Cheetahs for the Guinness PRO14 later in September.
The new coach will be part of the coaching structures during Currie Cup to experience the culture, according to the statement.
♦ In their statement the board of directors state that they view the appointment of Smith as Italy national coach as a great opportunity for him and that they are proud that so many top coaches have been developed by the Free State Cheetahs.
“Free State Rugby is seen as a breeding ground of opportunity with coaches like Rassie Erasmus, Neil Powell, Jacques Nienaber, Pote Human, Brendon Venter, Rory Duncan, Daan Human, who all started off in the Free State – and in the past, Nelie Smith, Gysie Pienaar and others.
“The Board of Directors is proud of and wishes Franco the best of luck with the opportunity to coach at international level until the next World Cup in 2023.”
♦ The board of directors has started with the process to appoint Smith’s successor. They have appointed a panel that includes relevant role players who will be responsible to appoint the best candidate as the new head coach of the Cheetahs.
Applications for the position will be advertised internally, externally and through SARU, according to the statement.