With the vote set to be held on January 27, the prospect of losing their influential coach will be a major blow to the World Cup quarter-finalists as they prepare for the RBS 6 Nations in early February.
Smal has the pedigree, having been forwards coach for the triumphant Springboks in the 2007 World Cup in France and he is still widely respected for his work under then head coach Jake White.
The 49-year-old also won successive Currie Cups as coach of Western Province in 2000 and 2001 and led the Stormers to a Super 12 semi-final in 2004.
The Irish Rugby Football Union refused to comment on speculation however, and it is unclear whether an approach will require a compensation package.
An IRFU spokesperson said: "It is not IRFU policy to comment on contract speculation. As far as we are concerned, Gert Smal is contracted with us until the end of next season and that situation has not changed."