ROVIGO – After only one and a half year experience of Franco Smith As the high level director of the Italian Rugby Federation looks like this is already over. Treviso, a 50-year-old South African, must step down to coach soon where he lives, by adoption after years spent playing and coaching at Treviso Glasgow Warriors, rivals of Benetton and Zebra in the United Rugby Championship. The Scots sacked Danny Wilson on 6 June. Confirmation, after the rumors circulated, comes directly from then president Marzio Innocenti: “The matter is not finalized yet, but it is possible – he says – I am working closely with the Scottish Federation’s managing director Mark Dodgson. A solution, if Franco will be chosen. Glagosw is a federal franchisee.’
The solution sought is of a contractual and economic nature, not technical. “Smith has a contract with us – Innocenti explains They would have had to give six months notice to leave earlier. But I understand his position. Following his experience as coach of Italy, Franco has always said that he still wants to coach. He feels too young for non-field technical work. When he got the offer he rightly asked me if he could investigate it and now, if he decides to accept it, we will find a way to allow him, plus excellent relations with the Scottish union looking at “.
From a technical standpoint, the loss of a high-level director is not a concern for Innocenti. The Italian job started by Smith, as he himself called it, would continue in two directions. The activity of small national teams (Italy A and Emerging) to help players grow. Depth achievable with at least 5 blue-eyed athletes for each role. How? “In a collegial manner. In the first phase everyone will contribute, then we will see if resorting to the same figures – the federal president does not go deep into the explanation – in September/October, meanwhile, Italy participates in a Toyota Lega Cup in South Africa, with 4 teams South African and 2 Irish. The other two competitions that Smith was working in, the Intercontinental Shield and Rugby Europe, are not yet interested. Instead, we have another match against Spain We will play and we will initiate contact with Japan, Chile, Uruguay, Namibia to meet some of the challenges in the pre-World Cup window.
PAVANello & IOANE CASE
For now Smith will not be replaced by Benetton Antonio Pavanello director Treviso, as the club and its president Amerino Zatta feared. «Antonio is one of Italian rugby’s quality managers – clarifies Innocenti – sooner or later he will reach the federation, but not now, suddenly, once the season starts, hitting Benetton in trouble. He will also lend a hand to the higher level collegium management, but will remain where he is.
Speaking of Benetton, Innocenti’s closure is on the Monty Ioan case. The 27-year-old winger under contract with Treviso did not show up at the rally. He stayed in Australia due to family problems with his wife, who does not want to move to Europe. “As the story concerns him and Benetton, we can only hope that it will be resolved positively in the context of the autumn trials, the 6 Nations and the World Cup”.
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