Glasgow Warriors boss scoops top award after stunning debut season

Jared Wright
Glasgow Warriors boss Franco Smith has been named as the United Rugby Championship (URC) Coach of the Season in his debut campaign with the side.

Glasgow Warriors boss Franco Smith has been named the United Rugby Championship (URC) Coach of the Season in his first campaign in charge of the side.

Smith joined Glasgow at the start of the 2022/23 campaign, replacing Danny Wilson.

Franco Smith’s debut season

The 50-year-old former Springbok led the Warriors to the Scottish x Italian Shield and a top-four finish in the league and guided them to their first European final.

Glasgow also went the whole URC regular season unbeaten at Scotstoun, with their only defeat in any competition at home being the 14-5 URC quarter-final loss to Munster.

Glasgow won 13 of their 18 URC regular season matches in 2022/23, a vast improvement on their 2021/22 campaign, where they won just 10.

They also claimed a try bonus point on 11 occasions and scored 72 tries in total, 19 more than they did in their previous campaign.

Their debut season under Smith’s tutelage ended last Friday when they were beaten 43-19 by Toulon in the final of the Challenge Cup.

“This is season one for this group. This is not the end for us, this is just the start. It’s a stepping stone,” he said after the defeat.

Smith joined Glasgow after a stint as Italy ahead coach and previously coached Benetton between 2007 and 2013.

He was also the assistant coach and head coach of the Cheetahs and worked with the Springboks during that time.

URC Awards 2022/23 Winners

OFX Top Try Scorer: Tom Stewart (Ulster)
Tackle Machine: John Hodnett (Munster)
Turnover King: Thomas Young (Cardiff)

Elite XV: 15 Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls), 14 Darcy Graham (Edinburgh), 13 Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors), 12 Daniel du Plessis (Stormers), 11 Simone Gesi (Zebre Parma), 10 Ross Byrne (Leinster), 9 Grant Williams (Sharks), 8 Gavin Coombes (Munster), 7 Scott Penny (Leinster), 6 Vaea Fifita (Scarlets), 5 Federico Ruzza (Benetton), 4 Niall Murray (Connacht), 3 Finlay Bealham (Connacht), 2 Dan Sheehan (Leinster), 1 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers)

Next-Gen Player of the Season: Tom Stewart (Ulster)
Vodacom Fans’ Player of the Season: Manie Libbok (Stormers)
Try of the season: Joaquin Riera (Benetton v Sharks, Round 17)
Gilbert Golden Boot: Johan Goosen (Bulls)
Ironman: Quan Horn (Lions)
BKT Coach of the Season: Franco Smith (Glasgow Warriors)

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