Six Nations

Franco Smith no longer Italy head coach as former All Black Crowley steps in

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Italy coach Franco Smith
Italy coach Franco Smith
Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

New Zealander Kieran Crowley will take over as Italy head coach in July on a three-year deal that will incorporate the 2023 World Cup, the Italian Rugby Federation announced on Wednesday.

Crowley, who was a member of New Zealand's 1987 World Cup-winning squad, coached Canada for eight years before taking charge at Italian PRO14 club Benetton Treviso.

The federation said current coach Franco Smith will move into a new role as head of high performance when 59-year-old Crowley takes over on 1 July.

He will be assisted in his coaching team by Andrea Moretti, Marius Goosen, Corrado Pilat and Giovanni Sanguin.

Crowley said: "I am honoured that the FIR (Italian federation) has given me the opportunity to lead Italy to the next World Cup.

"In the five years with Benetton (Treviso) Rugby, 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."

Italy have become the perennial whipping boys of the Six Nations, with their last victory in the tournament stretching back to 2015.

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