Nick Mallett’s tenure as Italy coach will come to an end after this year’s World Cup, the Italian Rugby Federation has confirmed.
The South African’s contract expires at the end of the tournament that will be staged in New Zealand. Italy beat France for the first time in this year’s Six Nations but that proved to be their only victory and the Azzurri finished with a wooden spoon for the second straight time.
A statement from the FIR said, “The president of the Italian rugby Federation Giancarlo Dondi met coach Nick Mallett today to inform him personally of the decision taken by the federal council regarding his eventual contract extension.
“The president has thanked the coach for the work done in charge of the national team and for what he will do until the end of his contract, which will expire after the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand in the months of September and October.
“The decision taken by the federal council is not to continue with Nick Mallett after his contract expires.”
The FIR said that from past experience, they felt it benefited the national team to change the coach after one had been in charge for several years. Mallett, 54, replaced Pierre Berbizier as Italy coach in October 2007 and had expressed his wish to continue to guide the Azzurri beyond this year.
The statement continued, “The decision by the federal council is based on past experience, of how a relation of more than four years in charge of the national team may not bring the wanted results.”
Perpignan coach Jacques Brunel has been linked with the Italy job since the beginning of the year when it is believed the FIR made an ‘informal’ approach. Although no deal is thought to have yet been signed, the 57-year-old is expected to put pen to paper at the end of the season.