What is Franco Smith's position at Italy national level?

What is Franco Smith's position at Italy national level?

What exactly is Franco Smith’s position regarding coaching the Italy national team?

From reports emanating from Italy, the former Cheetahs head coach has been appointed interim head coach of Italy's rugby team for next year's Six Nations.

This was announced by the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) in the week and follows the resignation of head coach Conor O'Shea.

O'Shea resigned from his role with immediate effect last Saturday. The 49-year-old Irishman's contract was due to run through to the end of May 2020.

Smith was therefore due to only take over from that date. However, in May this year the Cheetahs said in a statement that "Franco was offered the opportunity to coach the Italian national side from January 1, 2020."

He is obviously not yet the national head coach and one is also uncertain to what to make of last week’s statement by the FIR: "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."

Does the reference to “the staff of the national team” include Smith?

The former Springbok will be supported by Giampiero De Carli (forwards) and Marius Goosen (backs), with Pete Atkinson and Giovanni Sanguin coordinating physical preparation until the final appointments are announced.

Italy open their Six Nations campaign against champions Wales on February 1 in Cardiff.