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Ex-All Black named as new Italy coach to replace South African Franco Smith

By AAP
(Photo by PA)

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Italy have named former New Zealand international Kieran Crowley as their national team rugby coach, replacing South African Franco Smith.

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Crowley has been coach at Italian club Benetton since 2016. He coached at international level with Canada from 2008-16.

Smith, who took charge after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, will move into a new role as the head of high performance in Italian rugby.

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“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,” Crowley said.

Crowley won the World Cup as a player with the All Blacks in 1987.

Italy are coming off a sixth straight last-place finish in the Six Nations, igniting the debate over whether the Azzurri deserve their guaranteed place in the competition.

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