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Franco Smith named interim Italy coach

ROME (AP) — Former South Africa international Franco Smith has been named the interim coach of Italy’s rugby squad for the upcoming Six Nations tournament. Conor O'Shea resigned last week after three years in charge of the Azzurri.

The Italian rugby federation says it hopes to have a permanent replacement for O’Shea in place by July 1 ahead of a tour of the Americas. Smith played in Italy with Treviso from 2003-06. Italy won its opening two games over Namibia and Canada at the recent Rugby World Cup then lost to South Africa and had its match with New Zealand canceled.

The Azzurri open the Six Nations against Wales on Feb. 1.

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