RUGBY NEWS - The experienced Hawies Fourie will take over the Toyota Cheetahs coaching reins from Franco Smith from September.
A former backline coach at the union, the 50-year-old Fourie will take up a four year contract at the start of the 2019/2020 northern hemisphere season and the third Cheetahs campaign in the GuinnessPRO14. Smith, a former Springbok player and assistant coach who took the Cheetahs to Currie Cup success in 2016, is to take up the position of Italy head coach later in the year and will be leaving Bloemfontein after the looming 2019 Currie Cup campaign.
Fourie’s most recent achievement was guiding Stellenbosch University (Maties) to Varsity Cup success in successive years (last season and this season). Before that he was in charge of the Griquas team that won the Vodacom Cup. He started his senior coaching career with Boland 17 years ago.
After five years with the Wellington based union he spent several seasons working with the Free State Cheetahs Currie Cup side and the Cheetahs Super Rugby side as a backline or skills and attack coach.
According to a statement released by Free State Cheetahs (Pty) Ltd, Free State Rugby received “more than 30 strong applications from all over the rugby playing world” in response to an advertisement for the job placed when Smith announced his departure a few months ago. The final list was whittled down to six candidates who were interviewed.
“Hawies’s presentation and knowledge of the game impressed the interview panel and he immediately stood out as the successful candidate to lead the Cheetahs,” said the statement.
Fourie will join the Free State Cheetahs during the Currie Cup as an observer, but will not be directly involved with coaching. This will afford him time to study the culture and players. He will take over full reins with his coaching staff after the last Currie Cup match.
The Cheetahs will for the first time in three seasons be contesting the entire South African domestic competition at full strength as the PRO14 only begins after the final in early September.