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PRO14 – Smith wants to end Cheetah journey with a win

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Photo - JJ Vorster / Speedshots.co.za

It is Franco Smith last game in charge of the Toyota Cheetahs this Friday after six years with the franchise.

Smith side had a great start at home this season, winning two from two and earning a bonus point in both matches. This weekend he comes up against Van Graan Munster side who also have two wins from the two matches they have played so far.

Smith has won two Currie Cup titles with the Cheetahs and coached the Cheetahs to the playoffs in their first PRO14 season. After this weekend he will hand the reigns over to the new Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie.

Smith stood in while Fourie recovered from an operation and will head to take up a coaching position as the new head coach of Italy.

Smith believes he leaves Cheetahs rugby in a better place than when he arrived and believes the Cheetahs are now a side that fans can believe in with their brand of entertaining rugby.

“For me it was always about good people are good players. If Rugby is that vehicle, that was the one that was dealt to me. Through experience and the way I can see the game, I could contribute over the last six years and create a platform,” he said.

“We wanted to play a good brand, a brand we can win with, that we could entertain with. Something that people in the town and the stands can associate with. We wanted to create role models, heroes in society. Everybody I worked with here were exceptional people.

“They always went out there and gave their hearts on the field. I’ve never doubted any of their commitment. They measure themselves on a very high standard, and as a coach that is the biggest thing. There was always 100 percent commitment week after week even though we didn’t get the results.

“Regardless of what happens in the game I can only thank them for buying into the game plan.”

In Munster Smith will come face to face with a coach he knows very well in South African Johan van Graan, who he replaced at the Springboks during his time there. While Munster have 12 players at the World Cup, Smith believes Munster have already shown how dangerous they are.

“At the beginning of the season, they are a bit more disrupted than Ulster was and they have a bunch of new names. Knowing Johan very well, I know he is trying to blood a lot of players because he will need them in the Six Nations.

“I am sure he wants to see the depth of his squad and there are some unknown names in their side but I’m sure they are a very organised and well-coached team.

“We know each other well and he knows my philosophy. He was the attack coach before I was at the Springboks, so he will know how I think. It was very important to know where he will focus his attention. He knows our players very well.”

TOYOTA CHEETAHS v MUNSTER RUGBY will be Live on SuperSport at 06:10

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