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VIDEO: Springbok set for key Scottish coaching role

Franco Smith has taken Glasgow Warriors to the top of the United Rugby Championship standings and looks set for a new role in Scotland’s national set-up.

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England-born and Scotland-capped loose forward Ryan Wilson said Smith had been received “very well” in Scotland.

Speaking on a media round table, ahead of the URC crunch clash between the table-topping Warriors and the fourth-placed Bulls, he revealed that the nine-times capped Bok is earmarked for a much bigger role.

Not only is it his success with the Warriors, but also his previous gig in Italy that has left an impression on the Scots.

“He is all about hard work,” said the 34-year-old double centurion for Glasgow Warriors – who retired ahead of the start of the current season.

“He is a very detailed coach and works the boys hard.

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“He has been brilliant [with Glasgow Warriors].”

Having put some good ‘systems’ in place during his stint with the Italian federation, the 51-year-old is now being eyed by the Scottish Rugby Union for a similar role.

(WATCH as England-born and Scotland-capped loose forward Ryan Wilson explains what the future of Springbok Franco Smith looks like…..)

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“You look at the Under-20 team there [Italy] and how well they are going.

“Now the Italian national team had one of their most successful Six Nations campaigns,” Wilson said about the Azzurri’s 2024 season – which included victories over Scotland and Wales, with a draw against France.

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“That was a massive product of what he has put in place.

“There is a lot of talk around Scotland about the grassroots and how to develop the younger generation.

“The SRU will be leaning on someone like Franco Smith – who has done such a good job with the Italian game – top come and do the same.

“His sole focus at the moment is Glasgow Warriors.

“However, I know there is more than that.

“The SRU is looking at him in terms of how they can use him for the whole of Scotland.”

Wilson quipped that Smith’s best call was getting rid of ‘dead wood’ like himself.

While Smith needs to work on his golf – according to Wilson – he is good value for the Scottish game.

“He is doing good things with the Warriors.

“He inherited a group of players and coaches, but has managed to gel them together and blooding youngsters.”

Smith sees things that other coaches don’t and taps into that.

Smith, appointed as Glasgow Warriors coach in August 2022, joined from the Italian Rugby Federation where he has served as Head of High Performance since 2021, and previously as the national team coach from 2020.

Smith began coaching soon after retiring, first as backs coach for the Cheetahs, before returning to Italy in 2007 as coach of Benetton. In Treviso, he won two National Championship of Excellence titles before the club joined the Pro12.

He returned to Cheetahs in 2014 and won two Currie Cup titles in 2016 and 2019.

He was also an assistant coach with South Africa in 2017 and 2018.

As Italy’s national team coach, he was responsible for capping a wealth of talent, including the current men’s national team captain Michele Lamaro, and the talented playmaker Paolo Garbisi.

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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