Cape Town - The Cheetahs say a media report linking their director of rugby Franco Smith with a permanent move to Cape Town is ‘mere speculation’.
Afrikaans newspaper Rapport indicated on Sunday that Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby’s new director of rugby, has given Smith the choice of moving to Cape Town and remain part of the Bok coaching staff, or staying in Bloemfontein and giving up his role with the national team.
Smith is also the Springboks' attack and skills coach and it appears as though Erasmus wants Smith to live close to SA Rugby’s headquarters - which is situated in Plattekloof just outside Cape Town.
Smith’s family is settled in Bloemfontein and should he opt for the second option then he’d spent long periods away from them.
When probed on the matter, Cheetahs CEO Harold Verster told Netwerk24: “As far as we’re concerned, everything said in the media is mere speculation. From our viewpoint, he is the director of rugby here and he’s the official attack coach of the Springboks. We have an agreement with SA Rugby that he’ll be with them from time to time and be with us from time to time. On that basis, we have a good agreement.”
Smith himself refrained to comment and directed all matters to Erasmus. He is contracted to the Cheetahs until the end of the 2019 season.
In his new role, Erasmus oversees all of the country’s national teams and he looks likely to coach the Springboks full-time in 2018, with SA Rugby reportedly in talks to relieve Allister Coetzee of his duties as Springbok head coach.
Smith, a former flyhalf and centre who played nine Tests for the Springboks between 1997 and 1999, became head coach of the Cheetahs in 2015 and joined the Bok setup at the end of 2016.