Smith voted as BKT URC Coach of the Season
Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Franco Smith has been named as the 2022/23 BKT United Rugby Championship Coach of the Season, capping off history-making debut season at Scotstoun.
The 50-year-old South African was the clear winner in a poll of all 16 BKT URC Head Coaches, having led his side to a top-four finish in the competition, in addition to a first-ever European final, in his first season in charge.
Having arrived at Scotstoun last August after three years with Italy, Smith’s men went unbeaten at home during the regular season in the BKT URC, as well as throughout the EPCR Challenge Cup until Friday night’s final.
The Warriors also enjoyed a club record-equalling run of nine consecutive matches unbeaten across December, January and early February, as well as lifting both the Scottish-Italian Shield and 1872 Cup across the 2022/23 campaign.
Under Smith’s leadership, too, a host of Warriors have flourished on the international stage; a total of 17 players have been named in the Scotland training squad that will assemble in Edinburgh in the coming weeks ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup, whilst Sebastian Cancelliere and Sione Vailanu have also spent time in the training setups for Argentina and Tonga respectively this season.
“It was a huge surprise to me, really,” Smith told glasgowwarriors.org.
“It’s a huge privilege – no one goes into this kind of job to chase individual awards, and to have this award voted for by my peers makes it even more special.
“There are some unbelievably talented coaches in the URC, so to be recognised by them is a real honour.
“From day one, it was important to get to know the players and where the strengths of this group lie. We felt it important to sell our dream and our belief to this group, and they have bought in right from day one. Everyone was open minded and open to change, and from the players, the coaching team and the people behind the scenes, everyone has played their part in the journey on which we are just starting out.”
Glasgow Warriors Managing Director, Al Kellock, added: “I cannot speak highly enough of Franco’s impact since arriving at Scotstoun. From day one, he has fully bought into what this club means to everyone associated with Glasgow Warriors and has brought the best out of the players on the field.
“He has also played a key role in driving our culture and standards this season, and he has led from the front this season.
“As Franco himself has said, though, this is only the beginning for this group; I’m excited, as I’m sure are our supporters, to see where Franco, the coaches and this group of players take this club next season.”