Kiwi replaces Franco Smith as Italy coach

Franco Smith will be replaced as head coach of Italy by New Zealander Kieran Crowley on a three-year deal, which includes the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

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Crowley, a 1987 Rugby World Cup winner and current head coach of Benetton Treviso, will replace the outgoing Smith in July.

‘I am honoured that the FIR has given me the opportunity to lead Italy to the next World Cup. In the five years with Benetton I have been able to get to know and understand the country and its rugby culture, a knowledge that I can’t wait to deepen in this role.

‘We have a talented young generation who have recently had their chance at international level and in the PRO14 and have all the quality necessary to be, along with the more experienced members of the squad with whom we will work, the spine of the Italy team for the next cycle.’

Smith makes way following a poor Six Nations campaign where his young side failed to be competitive. He will, however, remain involved in Italian rugby and will take up a new position as head of high performance.

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