Harlequins have confirmed that Conor O'Shea will take over as the new head coach of Italy when his contract expires at the end of the season.
He commented: “As I said when I announced that I would be leaving, I feel the end of this season is the right time for me to take on a new challenge and 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.
“For me now there is a job to finish here at Harlequins and to ensure we finish this season as well as we can and see if we can add some more silverware to the Trophy Cabinet at this great club. I will say my goodbyes then and not before.”
Harlequins will announce a new Director of Rugby in due course.
O'Shea will be assisted by former England coach Mike Catt, in charge of attack and skills.
Announcing the appointment, Alfredo Gavazzi, president of the Italian Rugby Union, said: "O'Shea is a young technician with a track record of success in the field with strong managerial skills."