Sport

Maties Coach On Cheetahs Radar

Maties coach Hawies Fourie is a potential target for the Cheetahs to replace outgoing head coach Franco Smith.

SARugbymag.co.za understands that Fourie is a potential option to replace Smith, who has been linked to a head coaching role with Italy.

Fourie has previous experience in Bloemfontein, having coached the Cheetahs’ backline during his time with the union between 2007 and 2014, before leaving for Griquas after the 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby season.

Under Fourie, Maties have become a resurgent force, playing in the last four Varsity Cup finals and winning the previous two in 2018 and 2019.

When asked about a potential return to a professional coaching role, Fourie, who recently extended his contract with Maties, said there had been no contact between himself and the Cheetahs.

‘’You have to look at other opportunities. It won’t be easy to leave,’’ Fourie said.

‘’I was contacted by the Bulls [in an assistant coaching capacity] in November and had to give them an answer by the end of December, but did not feel comfortable to leave at that stage because we had just finished our pre-season.

‘’Obviously, as a coach, you have to grow your career and look at other opportunities. But I am happy here and my family is happy here. It has got to be a really good opportunity, or else I won’t consider it.

‘’I have also heard the rumours, but I have not spoken to the Cheetahs. Nobody from them has spoken to me. I am pretty sure with it being a top-six coaching job, lots of other coaches will be interested in it,’’ noted Fourie.

Welshman Dan Jones, a member of Guinness Pro14’s Elite Referee Squad, will blow Saturday’s derby between Cheetahs and Southern Kings at the Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein.

Two other South African officials will also be on duty in Bloemfontein. They are Paul Mente, who will be one of the assistant refs, and Johann Greeffe, who will be the television match official (TMO).