Former South African international ruled out of Connacht job

Franco Smith was linked with replacing Pat Lam

BY Daniel Kelly 10:21 Tuesday 31 January 2017, 10:21 31 Jan 2017

Picture by Tony Marshall EMPICS Sport

Despite winning the PRO12 last season, Connacht are having issues replacing Pat Lam ahead of next season.

South African Franco Smith is the latest name to rule himself out of moving to The Sportsground. The 44-year-old played nine times for South Africa between 1996 and 1999 and currently coaches the Cheetahs in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup.

Smith has experience of coaching in the PRO12 against Connacht. He played for Treviso for four seasons in the mid-2000s before returning to coach the side between 2007 and 2013.

The 44-year-old told South Africa's Netwerk24 that he turned down a chance from Connacht late last year to replace Lam.

"I told them I am committed to the Cheetahs, but it is true that someone spoke to me." 

The South African is the latest in a line of coaches to turn down the Westerners. Connacht Academy coach Nigel Carolan and New Zealand's Tony Brown are among the men who have turned down the job.

Pat Lam leaves the province at the end of the season to join Bristol. The English side are currently at the foot of the English Premiership, and look set to be in a relegation battle with Worcester Warriors for the remaining eight games of the season.


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