Smal 'cleared to travel' to NZ
Dublin - Ireland will have their first choice forward’s coach available for their tour to New Zealand, with South African Gert Smal ‘cleared to travel’, after the former flank missed the 2012 Six Nations due to poor health.
According to the allblacks.com website
, Smal’s symptoms affected his eyesight, and he stepped down from coaching duties to recover, with his playing retirement also caused by an eye injury when touring Queensland in 1993 with Western Province, with the blow threatening to rob the forward of his permanent vision.
With the Irish pack making a name for themselves against the Wallabies in last year's Rugby World Cup, and many of their constituents impressing with European form, having Smal’s guidance will be critical when they meet the All Blacks.
Smal was one of the hidden masterminds behind the Springboks' World Cup victory in 2007, after a distinguished domestic coaching run with the Border Bulldogs, Western Province and the Stormers.
Having linked up with Declan Kidney as forward’s coach in June 2008, Smal’s pedigree is such that he was considered a candidate for the Springboks position after Peter de Villiers stepped down, but he signed a contract extension with the Irish Rugby Football Union in January 2012.
Ireland will announce their touring squad for the All Blacks on May 21.