Cheetahs coach Franco Smith looks set to take over the Italian job.

The Free State Cheetahs confirmed that an offer had been made to Smith to coach Italy from January next year.

“Management wishes to assure stakeholders, suite holders and supporters that the coaching structures will be properly structured to ensure success,” the Cheetahs statement said.

Smith has strong links with Italian rugby, where he played more than 60 games for Treviso and coached them from 2007 to 2013.

The news of his possible departure broke on the day that the Cheetahs produced their best Pro14 performance of the season – beating the Dragons 38-13 in Bloemfontein on Saturday.