Cape Town - Former national team coach Nick Mallett believes Franco Smith will be an asset to the Springbok management team.
Smith, who coached the Cheetahs to Currie Cup glory this season, will assist the Springbok backs as a skills coach on their year-end tour to Europe.
His Cheetahs side won the Currie Cup this past weekend when they thumped the Blue Bulls 36-16 in the final in Bloemfontein.
Mallett previously also coached Italy and said Smith had impressed him then when he coached Italian side Treviso.
“He did a great job with Treviso. Italian teams playing the RoboDirect, as it was called back then, always used to finish 13th and 14th. When he was coach, Treviso slowly made their way up the standings. I was the Italy coach then, and took about eight players from Treviso because they played so well under him. His players were always fit, innovative and defensively solid. Franco is an outstanding coach and I think he is an asset to the Springbok setup,” Mallett said in the SuperSport studio after Saturday’s final.
Mallett is also impressed by what he’s seen at management level from the Cheetahs in recent times.
“One of the key elements of player retention is to create a good culture from the leadership down. The more trust between the director of rugby, the head coach and the assistant coaches, the better chance you have of keeping your players. There was a period in the Cheetahs’ recent history when they lost players like Trevor Nyakane and Adriaan Strauss, who at the time asked for an enquiry into the running of the franchise. And you can tell when things like that happen, there is discomfort.
‘Rory Duncan, Franco Smith and the rest of the young coaching staff turned things around. It didn’t happen immediately. They struggled in Super Rugby, let’s not beat around the bush. But the Currie Cup has really given them a lease of life. Let’s hope that what happened with the Lions under Johan Ackermann, will happen with the Cheetahs.”