#BreakingNews: Duncan departs, Smith named Cheetahs head coach

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Francos Smith takes over at the Toyota Cheetahs head coach for a second stint. PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

The Toyota Cheetahs Rory Duncan will be leaving the team at the end of the Guinness Pro14 in May to take up a coaching role at the Worcester Warriors in England.

The Cheetahs confirmed the news on Tuesday evening, along with the Warriors.

Franco Smith has been named as the head coach of the team again, after briefly taking over as the Director of Rugby last year. This afforded Smith an opportunity to work with the Springboks as assistant coach under Allister Coetzee. Duncan was previously the Director of Rugby at the franchise.

This all but confirms that Smith will no longer be involved with the Springboks. Earlier the new Director of Rugby at the Springboks, Rassie Erasmus, indicated that he wanted Smith to relocate to Cape Town in order to continue working in the national setup.

The Managing Director of the Free State Cheetahs, Harold Verster, welcomed Smith back as the Cheetahs coach for a second stint.

“Free State Rugby had long interviews and discussions about the situation and the process was completed in good spirit.

“Free State Rugby is excited and thankful that Franco made the decision to stay. His rugby expertise and coaching ability is invaluable to the Toyota Cheetahs.”

Duncan will take over as the head coach at Sixways from Carl Hogg. Earlier in the week Worcester and Hogg announced that he will leave the club at the end of the season.

“We have great appreciation for what Rory has done for Free State Rugby over the last four years and we wish him well,” said Verster.

The burning question is what happens to the Cheetahs assistant, Dave Williams. Duncan brought Williams in as a backline specialist and during his short stay at the Cheetahs thus far he has been nothing less than a revelation.

With Smith and Williams’ views on attack, the Cheetahs could become the most formidable offensive unit in world rugby.

Duncan is currently in Wales with the team, who will face the Cardiff Blues, Glasgow Warriors and Ospreys in the coming weeks in the Guinness Pro14. – MORGAN PIEK