Rugby | Franco Smith named as Italy interim manager

Franco Smith has been named as Italy’s interim head coach.

The South African will take over the Azzurri for the 2020 Six Nations as the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) continues its search for Conor O’Shea’s long-term replacement.

Irishman O’Shea resigned last week after three years at the helm following Italy’s Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan.

Former Springbok Smith coached Treviso for six years between 2007 and 2013, and was appointed as the Cheetahs’ head coach in his homeland since 2015.

Smith will be assisted by coaches Giampiero De Carli (forwards) and Marius Goosen (backs) for the Six Nations, with Pete Atkinson and Giovanni Sanguin coordinating physical preparation.

A permanent coaching team expected to be announced next summer.

“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 FIR said in a statement.

Italy have claimed the ‘wooden spoon’ at the last four Six Nations tournaments.

The Azzurri face Wales in their Six Nations opener in Cardiff on February 1st.