Conor O'Shea named as Italy's new head coach

He is joined by Mike Catt and Stephen Aboud in a new-look team

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Picture by: Joe Giddens / PA Wire/Press Association Images

After months of speculation, Conor O'Shea has been confirmed as the new head coach of Italy.

O'Shea previously announced that he was to leave Harlequins at the end of the season. The former Ireland international replaces Jacques Brunel, whose contract ran out after the Six Nations.

In a statement released on Harlequins website, O'Shea spoke about the honour of taking charge of the Azzurri. "I am honoured, humbled and excited that I will be working with everyone in Italian Rugby to ensure they can achieve on the undoubted potential they have as a rugby nation."

“I spent many years in the 1990's playing against a great Italian side and I know there is the ability and will within this current group of players and the FIR to ensure that the current team can become the best Italian team in its history, but that is for another time.

The first two members of O'Shea's backroom team were confirmed in 2003 World Cup winner Mike Catt and and the IRFU's Head of Technical Direction Stephen Aboud.

Catt was part of England's backroom team under Stuart Lancaster. He joins as attacks and skills coach. Aboud leaves the IRFU to take up a similiar position with the Italian Federation.

Italy finished the 2016 Six Nations without a win, with a points difference of -145. The side lost three of their five games by more than 30 points.