Hawies Fourie led Maties to two Varsity Cup titles in a row over the last two years. Photo: @maties_rugby/Twitter

He provided great service to his provinces and franchise as a player and assistant coach, but now Hawies Fourie is finally the top dog at a Super Rugby team.

Having played for Boland as a flyhalf for many years, Fourie took up coaching once he retired from the game, and took charge of his home union for five years.

He was once even part of the Stormers set-up as a backline coach in 2006 – yes, that long ago – before joining the Free State Cheetahs for a long relationship that saw him involved at Currie Cup and Super Rugby level.

But he was never the boss of the Cheetahs, with first Naka Drotske, then Rory Duncan and Franco Smith all above him.

That changed officially on Thursday, though, when the 50-year-old was appointed as the successor to Smith, who will become the Italy head coach after the World Cup.

The Cheetahs announced that Fourie, who has signed a four-year contract, will only take over from Smith at the end of the Currie Cup, which finishes on 7 September.

He will be an observer, though, to “afford him time to study the culture and players”, having been away from Bloemfontein since 2016, as he has coached Maties in Stellenbosch.

Fourie also had a two-year stint as Griquas head coach in 2014 and 2015, and comes off a successful tenure at Maties, who have won two Varsity Cup titles in a row.

“After the position of Head Coach was advertised in May, Free State Rugby received more than 30 strong applications from all over the Rugby world. The top 6 candidates were invited to do a presentation,” the Cheetahs said on their website.

“Hawies’ presentation and knowledge of the game impressed the interview panel, and he immediately stood out as the successful candidate to lead the Cheetahs.

“The interviews were of the highest standard, and Free State Rugby is pleased with how the process played out and that a top appointment was made.”

The Cheetahs begin their Currie Cup campaign on 19 July against the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.

The dates for the start of the new PRO14 season have not yet been announced.

@ashfakmohamed


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