Cheetahs unveil their new coach
NEWS: The Cheetahs took a long-term view when they named Franco Smith’s replacement as head coach.
Former Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie was signed on a four-year contract.
Moving from Varsity Cup champions Stellenbosch to Bloemfontein beat off the challenges of a host of rivals – including Jonathan Mokuena, Jimmy Stonehouse, Matt Proudfoot and Kennedy Tsimba.
Fourie will join the Free State Cheetahs during Currie Cup as an ‘observer’, but will not be directly involved with coaching.
“This will afford him time to study the culture and players,” the Cheetahs said in a media statement.
He will take over full reins with his coaching staff after the Currie Cup, coaching them in the Pro14 up until 2023.
Smith, capped nine times for the Springboks, will take over from Conor O’Shea as Italian national coach.
He played for the Cheetahs from 1992 to 1995 – before he had stints with Griquas, Bulls, Newport, Bologna and Treviso.
Smith started his coaching career as an assistant with the Cheetahs from 2005 to 2007, then move to Treviso where he was head coach till 2013. He returned to the Cheetahs in 2014 and was assistant coach, before winning Varsity Cup with Shimlas in 2015 and then took over as head coach of the Cheetahs.
Fourie, who started his coaching career with the Ceres club in Boland in 2001, also coached Boland (2002 to 2005), Stormers (backline coach, 2006), Boland again (2007), and the Free State (backline coach, 2007 to 2013) and Cheetahs (backline coach – 2007 to 2014). He coached Griquas for two years, before moving to Stellenbosch.
He was responsible for the resurgence of Stellenbosch, guiding the side to four successive Varsity Cup finals and back-to-back-titles.
In a statement, the Cheetahs said after the position of head coach was advertised in May, Free State Rugby received more than 30 strong applications from all over the world.
The top 6 candidates were invited to do a presentation.
“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 statement said.
“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.”