South African Franco Smith has been confirmed as head coach of Italy’s rugby team, the Italian rugby federation (FIR) announced on Saturday.


Smith, 47, took over on an interim basis last November after predecessor Conor O’Shea resigned despite his contract running through to the end of May 2020.

Smith will be supported by assistant coach Marius Goosen, with Giampiero De Carli in charge of forwards, Alessandro Troncon overseeing the backs, and Quintin Kruger and Giovanni Sanguin coordinating physical preparation.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer
Shaun Edwards joins us for this week’s episode! He chats all things France, his relationship with Warren Gatland, the one moment in his coaching career that will haunt him forever, a possible return to the Premiership and much more.

No details of Smith’s contract were revealed but it will reportedly run until after the 2023 World Cup in France.

A news conference will be held next week via video link, the FIR added.

Italy have lost all three games since former South African international Smith took over, all in the Six Nations, which was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Italy were hammered 0-42 by Wales in Cardiff, lost to Scotland 0-17 in Rome and fell 22-35 to France in Paris.


Smith coached Italian team Treviso for six years between 2007 and 2013 before taking over as coach of South African side the Cheetahs in 2015.

He was also assistant coach of South Africa under Allister Coetzee in 2017.

Irishman O’Shea took over as Azzurri coach in 2016 and led them into the World Cup where they failed to progress past the pool stage.

Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.

Sign Up Now