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Super Rugby: Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske to retire

May 8, 2015

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa (AP) — Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske will leave at the end of the Super Rugby season to pursue business interests, ending an eight-year spell in charge of the South African team, he said Friday.

Drotske said in a statement that he planned to announce his retirement from coaching at the end of the season but was forced to reveal the decision now after the news was leaked to the media. He said he hadn’t yet told his players or management team, but was planning to talk to them on Monday.

Former Benetton Treviso coach Franco Smith will head up the Cheetahs in Super Rugby next season, the team announced. Smith had already been named as the Cheetahs’ new coach in the domestic Currie Cup competition.

The 44-year-old Drotske has been associated with the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs since 1988, first as a youth player, then as a senior player.

“I’ve been involved in rugby since I can remember,” he said.

The Cheetahs said the former hooker would be remembered as one of the team’s “biggest legends.”

Drotske also played 26 tests for South Africa, and was part of the Springboks’ World Cup-winning squad in 1995.

Drotske said he had new business opportunities with a company he was a partner of, and also expressed a desire to possibly become a player agent in the future.

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