Cheetahs return to FNB Maties to fill backroom vacancy

Free State Rugby have confirmed the departure of their long-serving Strength and Conditioning Coach, Quintin Kruger, and named André Smith from FNB Maties as his replacement.

Kruger, who has worked at the Bloemfontein-based union since November 2010 is reportedly set for a new career opportunity. Similarly, Smith will be making the next step of his professional journey having been responsible for the Maties’ fitness since 2013, which includes the Varsity Cup winning season of 2018 and 2019.

Having worked together for four years (between 2016-19) in Stellenbosch, current Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie undoubtedly played a role in Smith joining him at the PRO14 outfit.

Smith, it must be noted, has some playing pedigree of his own. The Paarl Gymnasium alumnus represented Western Province as a flyhalf and fullback at the Craven Week and was selected for the SA Schools team in 2005 (alongside future Springboks loose-forward Dewald Potgieter) and played for the SA Under-19 side in 2006. Thereafter, he was contracted by the Lions and studied at UJ who he represented in the first three years of FNB Varsity Cup - 2008-10.

Upon returning to the Cape, 'Smirre' played for Maties in both Varsity Cup and Varsity 7s in in 2012. 

Since hanging up his boots, Smith has also been the Strength and Conditioning coach of the SA Schools team in 2016, 2017 and 2019. In 2016 he was responsible for the conditioning of the SA Under-20 team and in 2017 he trained the SA 'A' team. 

PROFILE André Smith
Full name: André Smith
Born: 30/6/87 in Cape Town
Nickname: Smirre