Italy turn to Brunel
Perpignan coach Jacques Brunel is to take charge of the Italian national team after the World Cup in New Zealand.
The 57-year-old will succeed South African Nick Mallett, who will leave his role after the World Cup in September and October.
Brunel has agreed a four-year contract which will see him in charge until the end of the World Cup in England in 2015.
The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) had announced on April 23 that Mallett would leave his post after the World Cup, despite the former Springboks coach indicating he would like to remain in the job.
Brunel helped France reach the World Cup semi-finals in both 2003 and 2007 when he worked with the forwards as assistant to coach Bernard Laporte. In his new role he will coach the national team and also work with the academy players.
FIR president Giancarlo Dondi's said in a statement: "We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Brunel, a coach who has achieved great results both with the French national team and as coach of Perpignan, which in 2009 won the French championship.
"We believe strongly in the skills and human resources of Brunel, who in the past we had got to know and appreciate, and we want to work with him to continue to develop high-level Italian rugby.
"We decided to formalise his employment six months in advance to give a clear message of the future.
"I would like to thank Nick Mallett for the great work he has done over the last three and a half years, particularly the unforgettable victory over France in the last Six Nations.
"We are confident that Mallett will continue to devote the utmost professionalism, even in the next few months, to his office in order to lead Italy in the World Cup in New Zealand."