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Rugby

‘I still believe that Loftus is the best place to play rugby’ - Smith

───   MORGAN PIEK 15:22 Fri, 21 Jun 2024

‘I still believe that Loftus is the best place to play rugby’ - Smith | News Article
Franco Smith - X

“I still believe that Loftus is the best place to play rugby – the ball travels a little bit further, the wind never blows, the temperature is always the same and the crowd is always enthusiastic.”

The Glasgow Warriors coach, Franco Smith, rates Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria as the best place to play rugby and believes that Saturday’s United Rugby Championship Grand Final against the Bulls will be a special occasion.

The former Springbok flyhalf and centre is more known for his time at the Free State as a player, but he also made a turn at the Bulls at a stage.

He has long rated Loftus as one of his favourite stadiums and once again highlighted what makes it so special.

The final in the capital city is sold out and it will certainly make for an electric atmosphere on Saturday.

In 2005, Smith, was an assistant coach when the Free State silenced Loftus Versfeld to win the Currie Cup for just the second time. Since then, he won the coveted trophy on two occasions as the head coach of the Cheetahs before heading to Italy, and then the Warriors.

Smith told OFM Sport that it’s a big occasion and the ideal venue for the final.

“Look, it's fantastic, the Bulls were magnificent in my career as a player,” said the former Cheetahs coach.

“I've had fond memories and some of my best friends came out of that 1998 group. It's excellent to come out here, I've been here obviously now a couple of times during the years, with the Cheetahs and with the Springboks, so seeing Loftus Versfeld is always special and a special motivation.

“To share this experience with the people I work with now is fantastic, I do feel regardless of the result, this experience will mean a lot to all in the team.

“I still believe that Loftus is the best place to play rugby - the ball travels a little bit further, the wind never blows, the temperature is always the same and the crowd is always enthusiastic.”

“So definitely a proud moment but also excellent to share it with the boys, it will take it on board for the rest of their careers.”

Saturday’s Grand Final at Loftus Versfeld kicks off at 18:00.

Bulls - 15 Devon Williams, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 David Kriel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Cameron Hanekom, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (captain), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp

Replacements - 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Francois Klopper, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Cornel Smit

Glasgow - 15 Josh McKay, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipoluto, 11 Kyle Steyn (captain), 10 Tom Jordan, 9 George Horne, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Matt Fagerson, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Johnny Matthews, 1 Jamie Bhatti.

Replacements - 16 George Turner, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 Max Williamson, 20 Euan Ferrie, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Jamie Dobie, 23 Duncan Weir.

Morgan Piek OFM Sport

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