Smith: The North can enhance SA Rugby

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 14:26
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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


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Sat, 20 January 2018
Montpellier v Leinster 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Glasgow Warriors v Exeter Chiefs 13h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Cheetahs v Kings 15h00 Bloemfontein
Saracens v Northampton Saints 15h15 Allianz Park
Clermont Auvergne v Ospreys 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Treviso v Bath 17h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Scarlets v Toulon 17h30 Parc y Scarlets
Sun, 21 January 2018
Leicester Tigers v Racing Metro 13h00 Welford Road
Munster v Castres 13h00 Thomond Park
La Rochelle v Harlequins 15h15 Stade Marcel-Deflandre
Wasps v Ulster 15h15 Ricoh Arena
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 13 12 0 1 58
Munster 13 8 0 5 42
Cheetahs 11 6 0 5 30
Cardiff Blues 13 5 0 8 25
Connacht 13 4 0 9 24
Ospreys 13 4 0 9 21
Zebre 13 3 0 10 17
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
Scarlets 13 11 0 2 53
Leinster 13 11 0 2 51
Ulster 13 8 1 4 40
Edinburgh 13 8 0 5 37
Treviso 13 6 0 7 29
Dragons 13 2 1 10 14
Kings 11 0 0 10 4