Mallett set to learn his fate
April 23, 2011
Current Italy coach Nick Mallett is set to learn today that his services will no longer be required after the World Cup © Getty Images
Italy coach Nick Mallett is set to be told today that his services will not be required after this year's Rugby World Cup with Perpignan coach Jacques Brunel poised to take over.
Mallett, who succeeded Frenchman Pierre Berbizier as Azzurri boss following the 2007 World Cup, steered the side to an historic Six Nations victory over France in Rome last month but that feat has not convinced the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) to extend his contract beyond this year.
According to sources, the FIR will inform the former Springboks player and coach later today of their decision that comes despite Mallett's apparent desire to continue in the role.
Brunel, who served as an assistant to France coach Bernard Laporte earlier in his career and guided Perpignan to the Top 14 crown in 2009, has been linked with the position since the beginning of the year when it is believed the FIR made their initial 'informal' approach. Although no deal is thought to have yet been signed the 57-year-old is expected to put pen to paper at the end of the season.
"I've thought about it for many weeks but this Italian offer is unique at my age," he told L'Equipe in January. "It will certainly be the last [job] that I can take on. I want to seize this opportunity."
Mallett, who has recently rekindled his relationship with the Barbarians, has previously spoken of his desire to continue his work with the Italian squad and has also ruled himself out of the performance director job at the Rugby Football Union.
"I am definitely staying until the World Cup unless the Italian Federation decide to change. Not only would I like to stay until the World Cup, I would like to stay after it, but that is the decision of the union," Mallett commented ahead of this year's Six Nations.
"I love this job, I really enjoy what I am doing and there is still a lot of work to do in Italian rugby. I have taken a lot of pleasure out of this job and I am still enjoying getting the team together."
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