All Blacks World Cup winner Kieran Crowley will finish up a year earlier than planned at Benetton, leaving the Guinness PRO14 club next June rather than see out his deal until the end of the 2021/22 season. The former Canada coach, who was part of the New Zealand squad that won the 1987 World Cup, came to Benetton in 2016.


He achieved the club’s best results in the PRO14 when they came within a whisker of reaching the semi-finals. However, his fortunes have since then have been on a downward spiral. This season Benetton have failed to win any of their nine league matches and were recently beaten twice by Italian rivals Zebre, while there has reportedly been a falling out with out-half Ian Keatley.

That has resulted in backroom talks at the club and the outcome is that Crowley will now leave Benetton with a year to spare on his existing deal. Crowley said: “Of course I’m disappointed with the club’s decision but I respect their choice of wanting to go in a different direction. 

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“My wife Sue and I really enjoyed the years spent here in Treviso. It was a great place to live, where we met exceptional people who I want to sincerely thank for all their support. 

“Even though this has been an extremely difficult season, we still have five months to go and I along with the rest of the coaches and players will do our best to reverse our results and end the season in a positive way.

Club president Amerino Zatta added: “Crowley’s arrival has undoubtedly allowed us to take another step forward for the growth of our club. We are grateful to him for the results achieved, reaching the PRO14 finals series and being recognised as the best coach of the year.


Sporting director Antonio Pavanello said: “We have reached the end of a cycle. It is natural to make a series of assessments and make decisions. However, there is still a second part of the season to face and our focus will have to remain on it, working professionally to obtain better results than we have had to date.”

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