The Cheetahs claimed their 7th win of the season on Saturday when they beat the Dragons 38-13 with winger Sibahle Maxwane equalling the all-time record for the most tries scored in PRO Rugby season.
After the game the Cheetahs addressed rumours linking their Director of Rugby Franco Smith to the head coach role of the Italian National side.
The statement released by the South African side confirmed that an offer had been made for the services of their coach, who has worked in the Springbok set up in recent seasons.
The full statement:
"The Management of the Free State Cheetahs (Pty) Ltd is aware of the offer made to the Franco Smith, Head Coach of the Toyota Cheetahs, to coach the Italian National side as from 1 January 2020.
The situation will be handled at the highest level with the Board of Directors of the Free State Cheetahs (Pty) Ltd.
Management wish to assure stakeholders, suite holders and supporters that the coaching structures will be properly structured to ensure success.
Management of the Free State Cheetahs (Pty) Ltd will swiftly deal with the situation and the Board of Directors will see to it that the Cheetah teams perform at the highest levels in all the competitions that they participate in."
If he were to accept the deal, Smith will likely link up with former Irish International Conor O'Shea, with O'Shea concerntrating on the development of Italian Rugby in Director of Rugby role.
Smith was coached at Benetton Treviso after his playing days before returning to South Africa to coach Varisity Cup side Shimlas. He then went on to coach the Cheetahs from 2015 and had stints with the Springboks as the side's attacking and backline coach under Allister Coetzee.