JOHANNESBURG - It was always going to be a big ask for Franco Smith to fulfil the dual role of coach of the Cheetahs and assistant coach of the Springboks. One of them had to give ... and it’s happened.
Smith has given up his role as head coach of the Cheetahs, opting to take up the position of director of rugby at the Cheetahs, freeing him up to fulfil his commitments to the Springboks.
He was earlier this season named as one of the full-time assistant coaches of Allister Coetzee, heading up the Boks’ attacking game. He will be in the position until the 2019 World Cup in France.
Taking over Smith’s Cheetahs coaching job will be former player and captain – and also coach at Currie Cup level – Rory Duncan, who has until now been the director of rugby.
The change in roles in Bloemfontein will happen on Monday.
According to the Cheetahs, Smith will lead the rugby development department of the union and specifically focus on coaching and the development of the junior coaches and players at the Cheetahs.
Earlier this year Smith said it would be possible to fulfil both coaching roles at the Cheetahs and the Boks, pointing to former Wallaby Stephen Larkham, who has coached the Brumbies, but also been involved with the Australian side.
Larkham, however, will also no longer be involved with the Canberra-based side, opting for a full-time role with the Wallabies post the Super Rugby season.
The Cheetahs, along with the Southern Kings, are in the coming days expected to be named as new participants in an expanded Pro12 competition in Europe.
Both South African teams have been cut from the new-look 15-team Super Rugby competition from next year. One Australian team also still needs to be cut from the revised line-up.