Conor O’Shea resigns as Italy rugby coach

MILAN (AFP) – Conor O’Shea (pic below) has resigned from his role as Italy head coach with immediate effect, the Italian Rugby Federation announced on Saturday.

The 49-year-old Irishman’s contract had been due to run through to the end of May 2020.

“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 view of the new cycle,” said O’Shea.

“I loved every minute I spent in Italy and I really believe in what we have done and how it can be achieved in the years to come.”

The former London Irish and Harlequins director of rugby has been linked with a role in the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) as this year’s World Cup finalists build towards the 2023 tournament in France.

“We are saddened by Conor’s decision not to complete the journey as contractually intended,” said Italian Rugby Federation President Alfredo Gavazzi.

“We thank him for the commitment and passion which he has shown in his role over these years and we wish him the best professional successes.”

Italy failed to progress past the pool stage in the World Cup in Japan.

They beat Namibia (47-22) and Canada (48-7) but their match against New Zealand was called off because of a typhoon and they suffered a heavy 49-3 defeat to eventual champions South Africa.