Smal takes Irish role

IRELAND have appointed South Africa’s World Cup-winning forwards coach Gert Smal to their backroom staff.

The 46-year-old former Springboks star, who has signed a three-year contract up until the end of the 2011 World Cup, will assume the same role under new Ireland head coach Declan Kidney.

Smal was part of the coaching team which masterminded South Africa’s victory last autumn, three years after he was appointed as an assistant to Jake White. He previously enjoyed success as head coach of domestic sides Western Province and the Stormers and was widely tipped to become part of the new Ireland set-up.

Smal said: “I am really excited about the prospect of working with Declan Kidney, (team manager) Paul McNaughton and the other management. Ireland has a strong squad and I look forward to working with them in the build up to the World Cup.”

Kidney added: “We are delighted to get a person of Gert Smal’s stature. He comes with a very impressive list of achievements at the highest levels in South Africa, highlighted by his critical role as assistant coach when the Springboks won the World Cup.”

Small was head coach at the Border Bulldogs (1998-99), Western Province (2000-02) when they twice won the Currie Cup, and the Stormers in the Super 12. In 2004, Smal was appointed Springbok assistant coach, during which the Boks won the Tri-Nations in 2004 before being crowned world champions in France.

The IRFU plan to appoint the remainder of the Ireland management team before the first squad session of the season in August.

nFormer Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie will coach French club Stade Francais. McKenzie was controversially told his contract with the Waratahs would not be renewed midway through the Super 14 season. He went on take the NSW side to the final where they lost to the Crusaders.


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