Saffa takes charge of Glasgow Warriors 

One of South Africa’s most experienced tacticians has been appointed head coach of Scottish club Glasgow Warriors from next season.

Glasgow have confirmed former Italy and Benetton boss Franco Smith as the Vodacom United Rugby Championship side’s new head coach on an initial two-year contract.

“I have followed Glasgow for a long time, since coaching at Benetton when they joined the PRO12 in 2010, and the way they play has always appealed to me because their style is embraced by the fans,” said Smith, who also served as Springbok assistant coach from 2016 to 2018.

“In coaching I always have these objectives: to play a winning brand of rugby; to have a style that is good to watch and that the fans can associate with.

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“There are also opportunities at Glasgow to contribute to the pathway for up-and-coming players, making sure we are developing creative, fit, and knowledgeable rugby players from a young age that we will bring all the way through to Scotland.

“I am looking forward to joining the club and getting to know the coaching staff and players as we begin working together.”

Smith has been head of high performance at the Italian Rugby Federation since 2021, after serving as national coach from 2020.

He earned nine Test caps for the Springboks and also played for the Cheetahs, Griquas, Blue Bulls, and Pumas in South Africa, as well as Newport, Bologna and Benetton in Europe.

The 50-year-old began coaching soon after retiring, first as backs coach for the Free State Cheetahs, before returning to Italy in 2007 as coach of Benetton.

Photo: Matteo Ciambelli/Getty Images

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Devin Hermanus