Many expected that Conor O’Shea would become the next Italian coach.
For much of the last twelve months, it was expected that Conor O’Shea would replace Jacque Brunel as Italy coach at the end of the season. Although O’Shea consistently rejected any speculation linking him with the soon to be vacated position, most dismissed his denials.
In fact, it was often remarked that his accession to the job was the worst kept secret in rugby. However, O’Shea may have been telling the truth all along, after Sunday Times rugby journalist, Mark Palmer, tweeted that the President of the Italian Rugby Federation, Alfredo Gavazzi, denied that O’Shea was set to become the new Azzurri coach.
Italian federation president Alfredo Gavazzi has denied that Conor O’Shea is to be new Azzurri coach. “You’re all going to get a surprise.”
— Mark Palmer (@MarkPalmerST) March 15, 2016
Palmer seems to be quoting from an interview Gavazzi gave La Republica, in which the Italian rugby chief not only stated that we will be surprised as to the identity of Brunel’s successor, but that the Italian Federation have made an interesting and reasoned choice ‘based on the future direction of Italian rugby’.
This is contrary to a report published in Midi Olympique earlier this week, which suggested that O’Shea had convinced Sergio Parisse not to retire from international rugby at the end of the season.
In any event, some Italian rugby fans seem to be getting ahead of themselves, after one site even claimed that Michael Cheika could be a potential target after becoming embroiled in a dispute over his new contract with Australia.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
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