Italy reportedly in the market for a new coach
Italy got their Six Nations preparations underway at their Giulio Onesti base in Rome on Sunday amid media reports in France that Racing 92 pair Laurent Labit and Laurent Travers have been approached about replacing Conor O’Shea.
Irishman O’Shea, an English Premiership winner with Harlequins in 2012, is contracted with the Italian federation through to the conclusion of the 2020 Six Nations after signing a four-year contract in March 2016.
However, results haven’t been encouraging during his reign. There have been just six wins in 28 matches, a 21.4% success rate, and just two of those successes have come in their last 13 outings, prompting background manoeuvrings about identifying a possible post-World Cup successor.
French publication Midi Olympique have reported that Racing duo Labit and Travers, who were previously approached about the Azzurri post in 2015, have been sounded out again even though they are under contract with their Parisian club until 2022.
The bi-weekly rugby paper suggested that unnamed English and New Zealand coaches have also been contacted about the position, but the French double act is apparently the only candidate to so far have the unanimous approval of the Italian bosses.