Sport

Cheetahs suffer blow as Smith leaves

  • My contract abroad is only made possible through some of our PRO14 performances, especially in the earlier part of the season. For that, I will always be grateful, says Smith.

The Toyota Cheetahs outside back Rhyno Smith has confirmed that he will be leaving the team later in the year.

Smith will be heading to Benetton Rugby in Treviso, Italy when his contract at the Cheetahs expires.

This comes as a major blow to the Cheetahs who have experienced a mass player exodus since their exit from the PRO14.

Smith said he was more than grateful for the opportunity given to him by Cheetahs.

“None of us can get contracts at other unions if we don’t put in some kind of performance. That gets made easier with the fact that our team must play well.

“My contract abroad is only made possible through some of our PRO14 performances, especially in the earlier part of the season. For that, I will always be grateful, not only towards the players but Cheetahs and the franchise for selecting and backing me at the time,” said Smith.

“My wife and I are very excited about what the future holds and the new opportunity. We’ve always had our eye on going abroad. While I was at the Sharks it wasn’t possible because I just wasn’t playing enough top-tier rugby to be considered. Once more, I’m very grateful for every opportunity during my career thus far which has brought us to this point.

“Hopefully we are only going to leave in the middle of the year. The Cheetahs have indicated that they have every intention of keeping me until my contract starts on that side. I’m so grateful for that and I hope that in the next few months I can still contribute.”

The star added: “It is important for me to repay the trust and opportunity they gave me, with a few more good performances.”

Recently it was also confirmed that Carl Wegner, who led the Cheetahs during the Currie Cup will also be heading to Benetton to further his career.

Smith won the accolade for the leading try-scorer during the 2019/20 PRO14 season.

By: Thapelo Molebatsi