Kieran Crowley to be replaced as Italy's Head Coach after Rugby World Cup


The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) has decided not to extend the contract of current head coach Kieran Crowley beyond the Rugby World Cup in France.

After his remarkable performance as the head coach of Benetton, the 61-year-old was appointed as Italy's head coach in 2021, taking over from Franco Smith, who transitioned to the role of the country's head of high performance.

During his tenure, Crowley made significant progress, leading the team to end their 36-match winless streak in the Six Nations with a thrilling 22-21 victory over Wales in Cardiff.

Acknowledging Crowley's contributions, FIR president Marzio Innocenti stated, "Now that we have decided to part ways with Crowley after the upcoming World Cup, it is time for reflection. Kieran's impact on Italian rugby has been highly positive. He has transformed a group of young players into skilled individuals capable of competing at the international level, and for that, we will forever be grateful."

Innocenti added, "However, our journey together is not yet complete. We have one exciting adventure left to embark on in France this September, and I am confident that Kieran and his team will leave an enduring mark on the history of Italian rugby."

Under Crowley's guidance, Italy has displayed significant improvements, highlighted by their historic victory over Australia in 2022, marking their first-ever win against the Wallabies.

While Italy did not secure a win in the recent Six Nations tournament, they showcased competitiveness in most matches and posed significant challenges for both France and Ireland.

Expressing his disappointment, Crowley shared, "I would have liked to continue working with the Italian national team in the next Rugby World Cup cycle, and I am saddened by the FIR's decision not to extend my contract. Our young team has gained valuable experience over the past year, demonstrating improvement in various aspects."

"We have implemented changes in our training methods, both on and off the pitch, and have adopted a fearless and self-confident mindset. With a World Cup and another four years of international matches on the horizon, we will have a group of players with an average of 50-60 caps—a truly exciting prospect."

Regrettably, Crowley will not be a part of this journey, but he remains fully committed to preparing the team for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France before his departure.

Crowley concluded, "Alongside our staff, I will give my utmost dedication to ensure this group of players is well-prepared. My wife Sue and I will always cherish the wonderful people we've met and the moments we've shared, the teams I've coached, my colleagues, the Italian culture, and, of course, the food and wine. We will miss all of this, but Italy will forever hold a special place in our hearts."


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