In their statement, the Cheetahs’ Board of Directors said they see this as a great opportunity for Franco Smith. Photo: Gerhard Steenkamp/BackpagePix

BLOEMFONTEIN – The Free State Cheetahs on Tuesday announced that their coach and Director of Rugby Franco Smith is off to Italy, where he will take over the reins of the national side from 1 January 2020.

In their statement, the Cheetahs’ Board of Directors said they see this as a great opportunity for Smith.

They are proud of the fact that so many top coaches have been developed by the Free State Cheetahs in the past.  

“Free State Rugby is seen as a breeding ground of opportunity, with coaches like Rassie Erasmus, Neil Powell, Jacques Nienaber, Pote Human, Brendan 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 on an international level until the next World Cup in 2023,” the statement in part read.

Smith will remain for the Currie Cup competition before he heads off to Italy.

African News Agency (ANA)