Franco Smith has agreed a new, three-year contract as Glasgow Warriors head coach after a successful first season at Scotstoun saw him lead the club to the URC play-offs and a first-ever appearance in the Challenge Cup final.

The 51-year-old South African, who left his post as Italian rugby’s head of high performance to take over at the Warriors, signed a two-year deal when he arrived 13 months ago. His new contract supersedes that initial agreement.

A methodical, undemonstrative worker, Smith exceeded expectations in his debut season. But after signing his new contract, he made it clear that there was still a lot of improvement to come from his squad.

“Last season was a stepping stone and the start of our journey,” he said on the Warriors’ official website. “Now it’s about how our players react to what we ask them to do next.

“We want to move the boundaries and expectations of what we can achieve as a group, and that’s as much a mental demand as it is a physical one. We’ve now established ourselves, but we’re by no means the complete product yet. There’s now an expectation around us for this season, so our first job is to manage that expectation and keep finding ways to improve and be consistently at our highest level.

“The people, both at this club and in this city, have been fantastic since I arrived last summer,” the former Springboks international continued. “I didn’t take it lightly, as I’m not the sort of person that likes to look too far ahead into the future – I’ve learnt from experience that life never tends to pan out that way if you do!

"It was a case of taking it one step at a time, and that involved looking at the bigger picture, travelling around Scotland to understand a bit more about how our system works, how the Super Series functions and where our young players are coming from, and see how we can build some additional consistency in what we’re doing here.

“I feel like I can add value to Glasgow rugby and to Scottish rugby – winning silverware and competing at the top end of each competition is always a priority for us, but if we can bring players through and develop them to be competitive for club and country then we will only be in a stronger position."

Smith also insisted that he felt a commitment to the city off the field in addition to his responsibility to get the team performing on it. “The community of this city was a big factor in my decision, too - I like to walk around Glasgow on my days off and get to know the city that way, as I like to understand how the wheel turns here and how people think about things.

“Rugby is just a vehicle to influence people’s lives, and I want to give as much of myself to this club and this city as I can. If we can influence people to be the best version of themselves that they can be, then that’s a success to me. Glasgow is a vibrant city full of opportunities, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

While clearly delighted by Smith’s impact on the field in a season that saw the team win 13 out of 14 home games, Warriors managing director Al Kellock has been just as impressed by the coach’s conscientiousness off it. “From day one, Franco understood not only the culture of our club, but what it means to be a Glasgow Warrior,” he said. “He fully buys into our desire to make this a world-class environment both on and off the field, and the results last season were a reflection of the efforts that went in across the board.

“Alongside this, Franco’s drive to ensure our players are committed to social engagement across the city made this decision easy for us – one of our club’s primary values is to inspire our community, and Franco embodies that day in, day out. His passion for developing talent and helping this club to succeed is evident for all to see, and I look forward to working alongside him to further develop this club in the coming seasons.”