Gert Smal

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Gert Smal
Full name Gert Petrus Smal
Date of birth (1961-12-27) 27 December 1961 (age 55)
Place of birth Kimberley, South Africa
Height 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)[1]
Weight 120 kg (18 st 13 lb)[2]
Spouse Patti
Children Dean
Rugby union career
Position(s) Forwards Coach
Current team Ireland
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Western Transvaal
Rugby Rovigo
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
1984–1993 Western Province ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
SA Gazelles
Junior Springboks
SA Defence Force
South Africa


Correct as of 1 December 2009
Teams coached
Years Team
Rugby Rovigo
Border Bulldogs
Western Province
South Africa
Western Province
Correct as of 31 March 2014

Gert Petrus Smal (born (1961-12-27)27 December 1961, Kimberley, South Africa) is a former South African rugby union player and assistant coach of the South African and Irish national rugby union teams. He is currently the Director of Rugby at South African provincial side Western Province

Playing career[edit]

Club career[edit]

Gert Smal was a flanker with Western Transvaal from 1980 to 1983 then played with Stellenbosch University from 1984 to 1985. Between 1986 and 1990 he was a member of the Rovigo club in Italy, as player-assistant coach.[3]

Provincial/International career[edit]

Smal had a limited international playing career due to the international boycott of South African sports teams because of the apartheid regime which ended in 1992. He captained South African Gazelles (U24 side) in 1984. He turned out for the Springboks against the touring New Zealand Cavaliers in 1986, against a World Invitation XV in 1989 and a Serge Blanco World XV team against France.[4]

He also represented Western Province between 1984 and 1993 and the South African Defence Forces in 1986 and 1987.

Retirement from playing[edit]

On the Australasian tour with Western Province in 1993, during a match against Queensland, Smal received a blow in the mouth causing him to lose vision in the bottom corner of his left eye forcing his retirement from playing.[5]

Coaching career[edit]

Following the end of his playing career, he was appointed to a number of key coaching positions in South Africa and held coaching positions at the Border Bulldogs (1998–99), Western Province (2000–02) when they twice won the Currie Cup and then with the Stormers in the Super 12 between 2003 and 2005, reaching the semi-finals in 2004.[5]

In 2004, Smal was appointed to the South African team management as assistant coach to Jake White, during which time the Springboks won the Tri-Nations championship in 2004 before winning the 2007 Rugby World Cup. When Jake White was replaced by Peter de Villiers as head coach following the world cup in 2007, Smal offered to develop rugby in the Eastern Cape but was turned down by the South African Rugby Union [5]

In June 2008, Smal was appointed forward coach to the Irish National team under Declan Kidney.[6] During Smal's time at Ireland, they won the 2009 Six Nations completing the Grand Slam for the first time in 61 years. His assistance was key in Ireland's victory over the 2007 World Champions and Tri Nations 2009 champions South Africa during the 2009 Autumn Internationals where he taught the Irish pack some Afrikaans so that they could read the opposition's line out calls.[7][8]

In June 2011, he signed a contract extension with the IRFU.

Smal was forced to miss the remainder of the 2012 Six Nations Championship after an eye condition struck him. His temporary replacement was Munster forwards coach Anthony Foley.[9]

Smal was replaced as Ireland forwards coach in 2013 by John Plumtree.

Western Province[edit]

In 2014, Smal returned to South Africa when he was appointed the Director of Rugby at Western Province on a three-year contract.[10]


Personal life[edit]

He is married to Patti and they have two children, a son Dean who attends UCD, and daughter Tamarin also in UCD.[5]


  1. ^ "SA Rugby Player Profile – Gert Smal". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "One Smal step for Ireland". 26 November 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Gert Smal Joins Ireland Management Team". 2008-06-19. Archived from the original on 12 September 2008. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  4. ^ "Gert Smal Joins Ireland Management Team". 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2009-12-17. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d "'One Smal step for Ireland'". Irish Independent. 2008-11-01. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  6. ^ Ben Rumsby (2008-06-19). "Ireland snap up Springbok coach Smal". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2009-12-16. 
  7. ^ "Irish read Afrikaans calls at Croke Park". The South African Rugby Players Association. Retrieved 2009-12-16. 
  8. ^ "Big problem was Smal - Matfield". Planet Rugby. 2009-11-30. Retrieved 2009-12-16. 
  9. ^ "Gert Smal Update". 24 February 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Smal appointed as Western Province Director of Rugby" (Press release). Stormers. 31 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 

External links[edit]