Sintu Manjezi offers insight into Franco Smith’s Glasgow Warriors regime - ‘very hard, very determined’

Having already played under Franco Smith in their native South Africa, Sintu Manjezi knew what to expect when the former Springbok was appointed Glasgow Warriors coach.

“Very hard and very determined,” is Manjezi’s verdict on the new boss whose early days in charge at Scotstoun have involved 7am starts and fat-burning sessions before breakfast.

Manjezi, a versatile forward who is comfortable at lock or in the back row, was signed in May by Smith’s predecessor Danny Wilson but Wilson was gone by the time the former Vodacom Bulls man arrived in Glasgow for pre-season, the former coach carrying the can for the Warriors’ dismal end to the 2021-22 campaign.

The transition to the new regime has been made smoother by Manjezi’s previous association with Smith who was his boss at the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs, his club prior to joining the Bulls.

New Glasgow Warriors forward Sintu Manjezi is set to play against Worcester in Inverness on Friday. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

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“I know Franco quite well,” he said. “We worked together at the Cheetahs. He’s a very hard coach, a very determined coach. He brings the best out of players as he’s right on the detail and expects you to be on your detail too.

“The sessions have been tough, and we’ve been a bit flustered. But when the boys come together and we get the detail right I think his structures can come out.

“It was Danny who brought me here and then Franco came in. It’s good to have worked with a coach before and to have that relationship. He knows my abilities and things like that from the Cheetahs. But I also know how hard he can be on me! So it’s a win-win kind of situation.”

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Sintu Manjezi in action for the Cheetahs when he played under Franco Smith. (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

At 6ft 6in and 17st 13lb, Manjezi should offer plenty of physical presence but he’s also quick. A talented cricketer, he was a more than useful fast bowler and represented Eastern Province up to under-19 level. He had offers to turn pro but made the decision to pursue his rugby career.

Might he be tempted to pick up the bat again in Glasgow? “I’ve not had any offers to play here but I don’t know if I can get much cricket in with the Scottish weather,” he smiled.

Manjezi, 27, was in line to make his first Warriors appearance on Friday evening when Glasgow were due to play Worcester in a pre-season match in Inverness. However, the game has been called off due to the worsening financial situation at the English club and Manjezi will have to wait a little longer for his comeback after nine months out with anterior cruciate ligament damage.

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“Coming off a significant injury it’s been good to get a pre-season under my belt,” he said. “That sets the foundation for how the season will go so I’ve been training hard and hopefully I can bring that energy into the season.”

Sintu Manjezi can play back row or second row. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Manjezi has been staying with new Warriors captain Kyle Steyn, a friend from their days as team-mates at the Griquas, but is seeking a place of his own in Glasgow as he begins a new chapter in a career that has hitherto been based entirely in South Africa.

“It was an opportunity for me to experience something new, something out of my comfort zone,” he said of his move north. “I’ve always wanted to travel the world and play rugby. So this was a great opportunity to mix learning something new in a new culture and playing in the UK.”

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