The Italian Rugby Federation has confirmed that head coach Conor O'Shea has stepped down from his role with Italy before his contract came to an end.
The 49-year-old took in charge of Azzurri in 2016 after working with Harlequins and London Irish but had a struggling impact as Italy managed just nine wins and lost 31 Tests from 40 matches.
“I loved every minute I spent in Italy and I really believe in what we have done,” O’Shea said in an FIR news release.
“We have started a process and generated a new, well-founded hope but I also believe that the end of the Rugby World Cup represents the best time for everyone to make changes.”
In the recently concluded World Cup campaign Italy managed wins over Canada and Namibia but lost heavily to South Africa with a 49-3 margin while their game with New Zealand was cancelled due to typhoon.
According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, O'Shea is linked with a role with England where he is likely to work closely with head coach Eddie Jones ahead of the Six Nations 2020 tournament.
Italy will begin their Six Nations campaign with a clash against Wales at Principality Stadium on 1st February.