Following four successful years at the helm of FNB Maties, Hawies Fourie will be leaving the FNB Varsity Cup champions.
Free State Rugby have confirmed that the 50-year-old Fourie has edged out five candidates from the 30-plus hopefuls to become the new head coach for the Cheetahs in the PRO14 competition.
“Hawies' presentation and knowledge of the game impressed the interview panel and he immediately stood out as the successful candidate to lead the Cheetahs,” read part of a statement on the union’s official website.
Fourie, of course, is no stranger to the Cheetahs. Having built his reputation as Boland head coach (2002-07), he served as the Cheetahs’ backline coach under Naka Drotske between 2007 and 2013. Thereafter he became Griquas’ head coach, before arriving in Stellenbosch ahead of the 2016 FNB Varsity Cup tournament.
His Maties stint yielded back-to-back Varsity Cup runners-up finishes (2006-07) followed by back-to-back title-winning campaigns (2018 and this year).
“I always wanted to coach at a higher level again”, Fourie told OFM when contacted about his appointment on a four-year contract.
“For me, this is a dream come true. When I left the Free State I always wanted to come back. I knew in 2015 that I had to learn some skills and improve myself.”
At the Cheetahs, Fourie will replace Franco Smith, who will become Italy's national coach later this year. However, Smith will only end his tenure after this year’s Currie Cup tournament.
"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’ statement clarified.