Outgoing Western Province director of rugby Gert Smal says he is eager to get back into coaching when he joins Japanese club Toyota Verblitz later this year.
Speaking of his decision to leave the beleaguered WP union and become Verblitz’s forwards coach, Smal told SuperSport that he missed the rigours of top-level coaching that come with the job.
‘As a director of rugby you’re not really involved in the day-to-day training stuff. And that’s what I’m looking forward to the most, getting back into coaching to experience that pressure. Not that there wasn’t any pressure when I was director of rugby, but it was a different kind of pressure.
‘Coaching is one of my strong points, and I can coach a pack of forwards relatively well. I look forward to this exciting new challenge in Japan.’
Despite his excitement to link up with Jake White, who is head coach at Verblitz, Smal admitted that his knowledge of the Japanese rugby set-up is not yet up to scratch.
‘You always have to adapt and develop as a coach and look for new ideas, but to be honest, I don’t know what their competition structures are like or even which trophies they play for in Japan. Once I’m there, I’ll just have to take it day by day.’
Smal is the only man to have won the Currie Cup as a player, coach and director of rugby. He was also an assistant coach when the Springboks won the 2004 Tri-Nations and 2007 World Cup, and served as Ireland’s forwards coach when they won a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2009.
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