Italy have named former Ireland full-back Conor O’Shea as their new coach, the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) said yesterday.

The 46-year-old has signed a four-year contract starting in June to take charge of the team who finished bottom of this year’s Six Nations after five successive defeats under Frenchman Jacques Brunel.

O’Shea will work alongside former England utility back Mike Catt, who has been appointed Italy’s attack coach, and former Irish Rugby Football Union technical director Stephen Aboud.

O’Shea has been director of rugby at English club Harlequins for the last six years, leading the London team to the Premiership title in 2012.

Italy joined the Six Nations Championship in 2000 but despite securing occasional victories they have struggled to make a sustained impact in the northern hemisphere’s premier international tournament.

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