Zebre have confirmed the appointment of Michael Bradley as head coach of Zebre after the recommendation of Conor O’Shea.

The Pro12 outfit have been taken over by the Italian rugby federation after their existence had been threatened by financial difficulties, and they have turned to the former Ireland international to take over the reins at the Parma-based franchise.

Bradley led Connacht for seven years, from 2003 to 2010 and was Ireland interim head coach for a tour to New Zealand and Australia in 2008.

He guided Edinburgh to the Heineken Cup semi-finals appearance in 2012, when they lost to Ulster, and has been defence coach with Georgia for the last four years.

The 55-year-old will be supported by Carlo Orlandi as forwards coach and by Alessandro Troncon as backs coach and the club have confirmed that Italian head coach O’Shea identified Bradley "to ensure full technical alignment between the National Team and the two PRO12 sides".

"The coaching side  is totally consisted with our elite rugby targets: Mike Bradley has been suggested by Conor O'Shea in person, has a solid experience both in PRO12 and on international stage and will grant consistency between Zebre and Italy," FIR President Alfredo Gavazzi said today.

"Competing in the Guinness PRO12 is a main asset for keeping on developing our elite rugby program and being back in control of Zebre will ensure targets are totally aligned both on and off the field.

"I'd like to thanks people who has worked over the last couple of years managing the Franchise, but it's crucial today to make this club an example," he added.

Andrea De Rossi, a former Italy captain, has been confirmed as Team Manager.