Cape Town - Springbok assistant coach Franco Smith has decided to return full-time to the Cheetahs, the Bloemfontein-franchise confirmed on Thursday.
Smith has also decided not to accept an offer to remain on the Springbok coaching staff.
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He will be replacing Rory Duncan who will be leaving for Worcester Warriors after the 2017/18 PRO14 campaign, which concludes in May.
Smith will be staying on as Director of Rugby and head coach of the Cheetahs for the next two seasons.
"Free State Rugby had long interviews and discussions about the situation and the process was completed in good spirit," said Harold Verster, Managing Director of the Free State Cheetahs.
"Free State Rugby is excited and thankful that Franco made the decision to stay. His rugby expertise and coaching ability is invaluable to the Cheetahs."
Smith, a former flyhalf and centre who played nine Tests for the Boks between 1997 and 1999, became head coach of the Cheetahs in 2015 and joined the Bok setup at the end of 2016.