Rugby

Kieran Crowley replaces Franco Smith as Italy’s head coach

Kieran Crowley was Canada head coach for eight years before taking over Italian club side Benetton

Former All Black Kieran Crowley has replaced Franco Smith as Italy’s coach.

Smith had been in the role since 2019 and will now become Italian rugby’s head of high performance.

Former Canada coach Crowley – who has spent the past five seasons at Italian club Benetton – was part of New Zealand’s 1987 World Cup-winning squad.

“We have a generation of talented young people who have recently entered the international Test scene,” the 59-year-old said of his new side.

“In these 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.”

Italy finished last in the 2021 Six Nations and have not won a game in the tournament since 2015.

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