Italy head coach Jacques Brunel is set to step away from the international scene in 2016 and return to French club rugby.
Italy coach Jacques Brunel is set to step away from the international scene when his contract expires in 2016 and return to French club rugby.
The former Perpignan coach took over from Nick Mallett at the helm of the Azzurri after the 2011 World Cup and has had mixed results.
Historic wins over France and Ireland in the Six Nations have been highlights of the Brunel era but Italy have struggled to consistently break into the top 10 in the world rankings – they are currently ranked 14th, below Tonga, Fiji and Japan.
“I think five years at the head of a national team is a sufficient time, especially since I have already spent six years in management of the French national team,” said Brunel, who was the France forwards coach from 2001 to 2007.
The 60-year-old, who won the Top 14 title with USAP in 2009, has expressed his desire to return to the domestic game in his homeland and has been linked with reigning champions Toulon.
Toulon are looking for a successor to current coach Bernard Laporte, with the names of Jake White, Michael Cheika and Robbie Deans doing the rounds.