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Supporters Club Exclusive: Gert Smal

Supporters Club Exclusive: Gert Smal

Gert Smal, Ireland’s new forwards coach, reckons his fresh ideas and knowledge of the Experimental Law Variations can help Ireland have a successful autumn international series. IrishRugby.ie caught up with the big South African at Thursday’s press conference in Cork.

Gert Smal, South Africa’s assistant coach for last year’s World Cup triumph, is clearly relishing his first senior coaching post in Europe.

This week’s four-day training camp in Cork has afforded him the chance to familiarise himself with the Irish set-up and players and it has given him a favourable first impression.

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“I’m enjoying it, it’s still very early days. This camp is really an introductory camp. Just to get to know each other, just to assess where the players are, what they feel comfortable with and build from there,” Smal admitted.

ELVs. The buzz topic in Northern Hemisphere rugby at the moment and the former Springboks flanker is well-placed to judge just how the implementation of the new laws will go.

“Obviously it’s one of the challenges that lies ahead for us. We do spend a lot of time thinking creatively and seeing how we can approach the game.

“At the moment, it’s very basic in terms of what to do and getting information through to the players.

“We’ve got to look at opportunities and challenges lying ahead in each facet of how the ELVs influence the game – especially with a pack of forwards, there’s a couple (of new laws) there as well.”

Smal, who admitted it is ‘a great honour’ to be involved with the Ireland squad, is eagerly awaiting the team’s November series of matches against Canada, New Zealand and Argentina.

“Obviously it’s new territory for me. I don’t have any previous baggage, I’m coming in new, with fresh ideas,” he added.

“I want to stimulate players with ideas we’re bringing from the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa, I also think they have a lot of experience and a lot of new ideas.

“I’m just looking forward to the challenge and to tackling everything head on.”

To listen to Gert Smal’s interview in full, please click here.