WP & Stormers get new Director of Rugby

Former Springboks assistant coach Gert Smal has been appointed as the Western Province (Stormers) Director of Rugby with effect from April 1, 2014.

The vastly-experienced Smal is a former two-times Currie Cup-winning coach with Western Province and 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 Springboks 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.

Smal’s role is not a hands-on coaching one, but one that will help guide and
advise the senior professional coaches as well as ensure that WP Rugby’s recruitment
policy and development of its players continues to drive the union forward.

“WP is a vibrant and diverse Union and arguably the most talented union
in the country, with teams from Under-13 right up to the Under-21s winning trophies
last year,” said Smal on Monday.

“I’ve played and coached here before, I have nothing but fond memories
of my time here. It’s also great to be back in Cape Town after a long time away.
Our fans are well-known for their unrivalled support and I look forward to drawing
on that loyalty and passion to ensure that Newlands remains a rugby fortress
for the Stormers and Western Province teams.

“I would need the support of the various management teams, the players,
administrators and other key role-players in order for WP Rugby to be successful.
Sometimes tough decisions need to be made and a unified vision and support is
crucial in this process.

“This is obviously an exciting opportunity for me and a challenge I look
forward to.”

Speaking further about his role as WP Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Smal explained,”This is not a hands-on coaching position, and not just about the senior
teams, it’s a position that encompasses the strategic rugby role of WP Rugby
– from the juniors right up until the senior professional teams.

“In terms of the senior team, specifically, my job is to add to the strategies
and ethos of WP Rugby and to ensure that we remain a leading union and continue
to push for trophies and continue developing international players too. I want
to create an environment here that gives all players a deep and lasting career
desire to play their rugby in the Western Province.

“I believe that Western Province Rugby has taken giant steps forward in
certain areas whilst I have been away – both on and off the field,” added
Smal.

“Certain structures

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