Smith: The North can enhance SA Rugby

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 14:26
Large franco smith cheetahs media 2017 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Cheetahs Director of Rugby and Springboks assistant coach Franco Smith believes playing in the Northern Hemisphere can strengthen South African rugby.

The Cheetahs - along with the Southern Kings - are set to join the Pro12 competition, which will be modified to the new Pro14.

The formal announcement will occur next week after all documents have been finalised.

"We going to experience different cultures and different styles of play," said Smith.

"The conditions in Europe is so much different, but it will develop another skill set which South African rugby needs. I think the whole of South Africa is excited about what is going to occur next [week]."

A move like this does place a lot of uncertainties among players in the Cheetahs youth ranks, particularly when senior players are also opting for greener pastures.

However, it seems that with the Cheetahs being axed from the Super Rugby, it has ignited the union to shift their focus.

The Cheetahs have been known to feed other unions with key players. Thus, heading north could pose more of a threat with European clubs' lucrative contracts luring players from the Cheetahs.

The recent official launch of the Cheetahs Academy and Director of Rugby Franco Smith's visit to Craven Week Under-18 tournament in Johannesburg has shown that the Bloemfontein union is eager to hold onto their young talent despite facing mammoth changes.

"It was important for me [as Director of Rugby] to get the message across to them that the Cheetahs' future is bright," Smith told the media at the official launch of the Cheetahs Academy.

"My time spent there [at Craven Week] was to encourage the guys to come and see what we about. The talent presented in the Cheetahs Craven Week side was tremendous, they adapted to the [senior's] brand of rugby, thus I believe the academy is just a way of taking that step further.

"The Cheetahs players are privileged to have a different opportunity, which other teams in South Africa are not fortunate to receive."

By Leezil Hendricks


There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 27 October 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Kings 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 AJ Bell Stadium
Ospreys v Dragons 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Munster 19h35 Sportsground
Sat, 28 October 2017
Australia v Barbarians 04h00 Sydney
Saracens v London Irish 14h00 Allianz Park
Treviso v Edinburgh 14h00 Stadio Monigo
Harlequins v Worcester Warriors 14h00 Twickenham
Northampton Saints v Wasps 14h00 Franklin's Gardens
Sharks v Western Province 15h00 Durban
Ulster v Leinster 17h15 Kingspan Stadium
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Zebre v Cheetahs 19h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Sun, 29 October 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers 14h00 Kingston Park
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 6 6 0 0 28
Munster 6 4 0 2 20
Cheetahs 6 3 0 3 16
Zebre 6 2 0 4 11
Cardiff Blues 6 2 0 4 10
Connacht 6 1 0 5 8
Ospreys 6 1 0 5 6
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
Scarlets 6 5 0 1 25
Ulster 6 5 0 1 23
Leinster 6 5 0 1 23
Edinburgh 6 3 0 3 14
Treviso 6 3 0 3 14
Dragons 6 2 0 4 10
Kings 6 0 0 6 0