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How greater exposure to foreign clubs could rejuvenate English rugby

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Franco Smith's advice for SA franchise coaches

By Jan De Koning
Franco Smith - PA

Glasgow Warriors coach Franco Smith has celebrated the addition of South African teams to Europe, saying they have added ‘real value’.


The Warriors clinched a first-ever EPCR semifinal as they triumphed 31-21 over the Lions in the Challenge Cup quarterfinal at Scotstoun Stadium at the weekend.

The Lions were on top for large spells, but struggled to make their pressure count.

The Warriors coach said he was not surprised by the Lions’ ability to ‘stay in the fight’ and keep coming back – despite leading by 14 points for a large chunk of the first half and by 17 points with about five minutes remaining.

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However, it is the bigger picture the Scottish team’s mentor is looking at.

He said despite the obvious ‘logistical obstacles’, the South African teams added real value to the European competitions.

“It is an important competition for them to be a part of,” the nine-times capped Springbok said.

While he was cautious not to step on any toes, he admitted there are ‘some things’ the SA coaches could change in their approach.

“My philosophy is based on my experience of Super Rugby and now in Europe,” he told @rugby365com.


“I attempt to marry the two [competitions] to get a balance.

“The Stormers have a good recipe with what they are doing.

“The challenge in Europe, if you want to compete in both competitions, is to have an allround squad that is well developed.

“You must have the confidence to use them.”

Turning to his own team, the Warriors, the 50-year-old said he does chase success, but believe in “significance”.

“There are a lot of building blocks for this season to be put in place,” he said of a a Glasgow outfit that are now into the Challenge Cup semifinals and well positioned for a top-four finish in the United Rugby Championship, perhaps even a top-three or top-two spot.


“To put the first 80 percent of a team in place is easy and usual takes six months to a year.

“The last 20 percent takes another year or two.

“There is still some important growth [to be done] and the important aspect for us is to develop a good squad.”


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RUGBYPASS+ How greater exposure to foreign clubs could rejuvenate English rugby How greater exposure to foreign clubs could rejuvenate English rugby