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Former Italy head coach Franco Smith takes over at Glasgow

Franco Smith is the new Glasgow head coach (Adam Davy/PA)
Franco Smith is the new Glasgow head coach (Adam Davy/PA)

Glasgow have appointed former Italy head coach Franco Smith as Danny Wilson’s successor.

Smith will join on a two-year contract from the Italian Rugby Federation, where he has most recently been working as head of high performance.

The former South Africa international lost all 13 of his matches in charge of Italy during 2020 and 2021.

Smith was previously head coach of Treviso from 2007 to 2013 and has spent several spells as player, assistant coach and head coach of the Cheetahs in his native country.

Wilson was sacked two months ago after Glasgow lost 76-14 against Leinster in the United Rugby Championship quarter-finals.

Smith, who will arrive in Scotland at the end of August, told the Warriors official website: “I have followed Glasgow for a long time, since coaching at Benetton when they joined the PRO12 in 2010, and the way they play has always appealed to me because their style is embraced by the fans.

“In coaching I always have these objectives: to play a winning brand of rugby; to have a style that is good to watch and that the fans can associate with – it is the Warrior Nation’s team, and our responsibility through the coaches and players is to represent them.

“There are also opportunities at Glasgow to contribute to the pathway for up-and-coming players, making sure we are developing creative, fit, and knowledgeable rugby players from a young age that we will bring all the way through to Scotland.

“I am looking forward to joining the club and getting to know the coaching staff and players as we begin working together.”

The 50-year-old will work with assistant coaches Nigel Carolan, Peter Murchie, Alasdair Dickinson, and Pete Horne.

Smith won the first of nine international caps in a try-scoring debut against Scotland at Murrayfield in 1997 and played for Newport, Bologna and Benetton Treviso as well as several clubs in South Africa.

Franco Smith
Franco Smith touches the pitch as he says a prayer before a Six Nations match at BT Murrayfield (Jane Barlow/PA)

His coaching highlights include two national titles with Treviso, two Currie Cup titles with Cheetahs plus two years as an assistant coach with the Springboks.

Warriors managing director Alastair Kellock revealed that it was Smith’s “depth of knowledge in the game and his experiences at professional club and international levels” that stood out.

“I know Franco will bring an exciting identity to our game based on high tempo and hard work, and he will bring the best out of the talented group of players we have at Scotstoun,” he added.

Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson added: “Throughout our recruitment process Franco stood out as a strong technical coach who wants to play positive rugby, which fits with the DNA of Glasgow Warriors and how we want to develop our squad, especially the exciting group of younger players, at Scotstoun.”