The vastly-experienced Gert Smal will join Western Province Rugby as the new Director of Rugby, with effect from April 1, 2014.
Smal, a former two-times Absa Currie Cup-winning coach with DHL Western Province, will return to the Cape after some time away, having served as the Springbok assistant coach between 2003 and 2007 and holding down the same role with the Ireland national team from 2008 to 2013.
During his time with the Springboks, Smal helped the Men in Green & Gold to a Tri-Nations title in 2004 and a World Cup triumph in 2007. As part of the Ireland coaching set-up, Smal played an integral part in their 2009 Six Nations, Grand Slam and Triple Crown triumphs, whilst he also helped mastermind a 15-10 win over the Boks in Dublin later that year.
Smal’s role at WP Rugby will see him head up rugby matters across the union, with the senior professional coaches, junior professional coaches and WP Rugby Institute management team all reporting in to him.
He will be based at the WP Rugby High Performance Centre in Bellville, helping with the ethos and strategy of WP Rugby’s teams and being responsible for the contracting and recruitment throughout the union – from the junior ranks right through to the senior ranks.
A crucial part of Smal’s job will also see him manage the process of the junior players taking the step up into fully-fledged senior professionals – all of which is geared towards ensuring that WP Rugby remains a leading brand with its teams continuing to push for trophies and players continuing to earn national colours.
Smal is well known to everyone at WP Rugby, as a player and a coach. His role is not a hands-on coaching one, but a position that will encompass the strategic rugby role from the junior teams straight through to the senior professional outfits.