New Zealander Kieran Crowley will succeed Franco Smith as Italy head coach this summer.

The 59-year-old has been appointed on a three-year contract from 1 July that will incorporate the 2023 World Cup in France.

The Italian Rugby Federation also announced that Smith will move into a new role as head of high performance.

Crowley, who was a member of New Zealand's 1987 World Cup-winning squad, coached Canada for eight years before taking charge at Guinness PRO14 club Benetton.

He will be assisted in his coaching team by Andrea Moretti, Marius Goosen, Corrado Pilat and Giovanni Sanguin.

Crowley said: "I am honoured that the FIR (Italian federation) has given me the opportunity to lead Italy to the next World Cup.

"In the five years with Benetton Rugby, I have been able to get to know and understand the country and its rugby culture, a knowledge that I can't wait to deepen in this role."

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