The Cheetahs on Thursday confirmed that coach Rory Duncan will be leaving the side with the completion of the Guinness Pro14 championship in May 2018.
Duncan will be joining English Premiership club Worcester Warriors.
Franco Smith, meanwhile, has decided to return full time to the Cheetahs and not to accept an offer to remain on the Springbok coaching staff.
“We have great appreciation for what Rory has done for Free State Rugby over the last four years and we wish him well,” said Harold Verster, Manging Director of the Free State Cheetahs.
Smith will be staying on as director of rugby and coach of the Cheetahs for the next two seasons.
“Free State Rugby had long interviews and discussions about the situation and the process was completed in good spirit,” said Verster.
“Free State Rugby is excited and thankful that Franco made the decision to stay. His rugby expertise and coaching ability is invaluable to the Toyota Cheetahs.”