Franco Smith has insisted that he does not feel flattered by speculation that he will in time succeed Gregor Townsend as head coach of Scotland, and that any such switch is too far in the future for him to take an interest in.

The South African enjoyed a successful first season as Glasgow Warriors’ head coach, and earlier this week was rewarded with a new three-year contract. Commentators on social media were quick to point out that Townsend’s current deal is also due to expire in 2026, and there were suggestions that Smith was being teed up as the replacement.

However, recalling the fact that his appointment as Warriors boss in August 2022 was widely regarded as underwhelming, Smith suggested that he had little reason to pay attention to the praise that has been coming his way.

"A year ago they were all crying when they signed me, so I’m not going to read much into that,” he said. “Also I don’t like looking ahead that far. 

“It’s already a long way - I signed a long-term deal with Italy [first as national head coach and then as the federation’s head of high performance] and I never got to the end of that. So we’ll take it one year at a time from now. 

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“The club invested a lot of time and effort last year in making this group competitive and now that is going to be the next step, to have significant success. I’m not thinking too much beyond that.”

After taking his new team to a top-four finish in the URC and a place in the Challenge Cup final, Smith believes the Warriors will be seen as a major scalp by opponents in the coming season. “I definitely feel they’ll come out all guns blazing against us. The top four teams are always in the scope of everybody in the year after and that’s where we sat, therefore it would be ignorant of us not to think that other teams will take great joy in beating us. We have to prepare for that from the start.”

Smith also revealed that second-row forward JP du Preez will miss the start of the season because of an injury sustained in training. Glasgow have yet to determine how long the South African will be out of action for.