Former Cheetahs coach Franco Smith has been replaced as Italy’s head coach by former All Black fullback Kieran Crowley after the appointment of Smith to head of high performance, overseeing rugby at every level in Italy.
Smith has been in charge of Italy as head coach after the 2019 World Cup.
Crowley, who won the World Cup as a player with the All Blacks in 1987, has been in charge of Italian club Benetton since 2016. He has served as a selector for the All Blacks from 2002 to 2003. He has also coached the New Zealand Under-19s to World Championship success in Ireland in 2007.
The following year he became the coach of Canada’s national team.
After eight years with Canada, Crowley travelled to Italy to take over at Benetton and led the Italian club to an historic first play-off appearance in the Pro14 in 2019, according to @SixNationsRugby
“I’m honoured that the FIR [Italian Rugby Federation] have given me the opportunity to lead Italy to the next World Cup,” said Crowley.
“In the five years with Benetton Rugby, I’ve been able to learn and understand the country and its rugby culture, an understanding which I cannot wait to develop as head coach of the national team.
“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, along with the more experienced members of the squad with whom we will work, establish the spine of the Italy team for the next cycle.”