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Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 2 October, 2014

Former Ireland coach Gert Smal takes control of Western Province

The forwards coach has been named the new director of rugby with the club he has previously represented as a player and a coach.

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

FORMER IRELAND FORWARDS coach Gert Smal is back in rugby after being named Director of Rugby with Western Province in his native South Africa.

Smal has represented the Currie Cup level club (who feed into the Stormers Super 15 franchise) as a player and went on to coach the side before assisting the Springboks to World Cup success.

In 2008, Declan Kidney brought Smal on board ahead of the Grand Slam victory and, barring time out with an eye injury in 2012, the South African continued to coach Irish forwards until last Spring.

This role will apparently take Smal away from the hands on nature of day to day coaching, with under-pressure Stormers coach Allister Coetzee among those who will report to Smal.

“Smal’s role at WP Rugby will see him head up rugby matters across the union,” said a statement from the club, “with the senior professional coaches, junior professional coaches and WP Rugby Institute management team all reporting in to him.”

Speaking at the press conference to announce his unveiling, the new director of rugby told SA Rugby Mag: ”My job at the moment is to offer the coaches support.We can’t change too much at this stage, because it will confuse the players.”

However, he did add: “I want them to play typical WP and Stormers rugby. They’ve been coached to play in a very structured way over the past few years. I want them to play more of a 15-man game, to be more unpredictable. I want the players to express themselves.”

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