Johannesburg – Former Springbok assistant coach Gert Smal will join Western Province Rugby as the new director of rugby, the union announced on Monday.

“WP is a vibrant and diverse Union and arguably the most talented union in the country, with teams from Under-13 right up to the Under-21s winning trophies last year,” said Smal, who will take charge from Tuesday.

“I've played and coached here before, I have nothing but fond memories of my time here. It's also great to be back in Cape Town after a long time away.”

The union said Smal's role will be to help guide and advise the senior professional coaches as well as ensure that Western Province Rugby's recruitment policy and development of its players continued to drive the union forward.

“This is not a hands-on coaching position, and not just about the senior teams, it's a position that encompasses the strategic rugby role of WP Rugby, from the juniors right up until the senior professional teams,” he said.

“In terms of the senior team, specifically, my job is to add to the strategies and ethos of WP Rugby and to ensure that we remain a leading union and continue to push for trophies and continue developing international players too.”

Smal, a former two-times Currie Cup-winning coach with Western Province also served as the Springbok assistant coach between 2003

and 2007, while he held down the same role with the Ireland national team from 2008 to 2013.

During his time with the Springboks, Smal helped the national side to a Tri-Nations title in 2004 and a World Cup triumph in 2007.

As part of the Ireland coaching set-up, Smal played an integral part in their 2009 Six Nations, Grand Slam and Triple Crown triumphs, while he also helped mastermind a 15-10 win over the Boks in Dublin later that year. – Sapa