Ireland forwards coach Gert Smal, who spent the week working with the squad in Limerick, has issued a statement regarding the position of South Africa head coach.
“I was deeply honoured to be linked to the position of head coach for the Springbok team and having being involved with the team before, it was obviously something that I would have thought about very carefully,” said Gert Smal, who has been part of the Irish set-up since June 2008.
“A big part of that consideration would be my connection to the Ireland team as well as my desire to see out my contract as I am very happy here.
“Declan (Kidney) and the IRFU showed great faith in bringing me here and it has been a wonderful experience from a professional point of view, as well as for my family.
Smal, head coach Kidney and two more members of the management team, Les Kiss and Mark Tainton, all agreed new contract extensions with the IRFU last summer.
The decision of all four coaches to commit to Ireland will see them remain with the squad until the conclusion of the 2012/13 season.
“There is still such great potential and opportunities for the Ireland team and I have great faith in the players that we can achieve things together with the coaching staff,” added the South African.
“I have not given up on the possibility of coaching my country in the future, but my focus now is on Ireland and on our first game in the RBS 6 Nations Championship.”
The Championship campaign for Smal and the Ireland management and players gets underway on Sunday, February 5 with the visit of Wales to the Aviva Stadium.
Earlier today, the South African Rugby Union announced that Heyneke Meyer has taken over as head coach of the Springboks.