Franco Smith has officially been appointed as Italy’s interim head coach for the upcoming Six Nations campaign in 2020 following Conor O’Shea’s resignation.
Smith takes over from O’Shea, who resigned as Italy head coach with immediate effect last Saturday. The Irishman’s contract ran until May 2020 and he was originally meant to guide the team in next year’s Six Nations.
The former Cheetahs coach will be assisted by Giampiero De Carli (forwards) and Marius Goosen (backs), with Pete Atkinson and Giovanni Sanguin coordinating physical preparation.
‘The Federation will continue the process of defining the staff of the national team for the four-year period 2020-23, which will be in office starting from July 1, 2020 in view of the summer tour in the Americas,’ the Italian Rugby Federation said in a statement.
Smith has previously spent time in Italy with PRO14 side Benetton Treviso, which he coached for six years (2007-13) before returning to South Africa and taking over the Cheetahs in 2015.
Italy open their Six Nations campaign against champions Wales on 1 February in Cardiff.
The last Italy victory in the tournament was against Scotland in Edinburgh in February 2015, while at home the Azzurri have not won since March 2013, when they beat Ireland in Rome.
Italy beat Namibia (47-22) and Canada (48-7) at the 2019 World Cup but their match against New Zealand was called off because of a typhoon and they suffered a heavy 49-3 defeat by eventual champions South Africa.
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