Franco Smith has been named the Coach of the Season for 2022/23.
The 50-year-old Glasgow Warriors boss has had a stunning debut campaign in charge, leading the team to the Scottish x Italian Shield and a top-four finish as well as guiding them into their first European final.
Smith, who joined Glasgow Warriors last summer on a two-year contract from the Italian Rugby Federation, also helped the Warriors go the whole BKT URC regular season unbeaten at Scotstoun.
Glasgow Warriors did suffer their only home defeat in any competition when losing 14-5 to Munster in the BKT URC Quarter-Final and were then beaten 43-19 by Toulon in the final of the EPCR Challenge Cup at the Aviva Stadium last Friday.
Afterwards, Smith said: “This is season one for this group. This is not the end for us, this is just the start. It’s a stepping stone.”
The former South Africa international led Italy during 2020 and 2021.
Smith was previously head coach of Benetton from 2007 to 2013 and spent several spells as player, assistant coach and head coach of the Cheetahs in his native country.
This award was voted for by the BKT URC’s 16 head coaches and leaves only one prize still to be announced – the Players’ Player of the Season.
URC Awards 2022-23 Winners
OFX Top Try Scorer: Tom Stewart (Ulster)
Tackle Machine: John Hodnett (Munster)
Turnover King: Thomas Young (Cardiff)
Elite XV: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls), Darcy Graham (Edinburgh), Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors), Daniel du Plessis (DHL Stormers), Simone Gesi (Zebre Parma), Ross Byrne (Leinster), Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks), Gavin Coombes (Munster), Scott Penny (Leinster), Vaea Fifita (Scarlets), Federico Ruzza (Benetton), Niall Murray (Connacht), Finlay Bealham (Connacht), Dan Sheehan (Leinster), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers).
Next-Gen Player of the Season: Tom Stewart (Ulster)
Vodacom Fans’ Player of the Season: Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers)
Try of the season: Joaquin Riera (Benetton @ Cell C Sharks, Round 17)
Gilbert Golden Boot: Johan Goosen (Vodacom Bulls)
Ironman: Quan Horn (Emirates Lions)
BKT Coach of the Season: Franco Smith (Glasgow Warriors)
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