Nick Mallett to leave Italy role after World Cup

Italy coach Nick Mallett
Mallett has been linked with a role at the Rugby Football Union

Italy have confirmed that coach Nick Mallett will not have his contract renewed when it expires after the World Cup in New Zealand this autumn.

The 54-year-old South African, who took over after the 2007 World Cup, has led his team to six wins in 36 games.

Perpignan coach Jacques Brunel is set to be confirmed as Mallett's successor.

"The federation has taken the decision not to continue the relationship with Nick Mallett," read an Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) statement.

"[The decision is] due to previous experience of how a relationship between a coach and the national team that lasts more than four years might not produce the expected results."

Brunel has been the frontrunner for the role since being linked with Mallett's position in January and confirmation of his appointment seems a formality.

"Jacques Brunel has not yet signed his contract but he will be named coach in the coming days," said FIR president Giancarlo Dondi.

For his part Brunel, who led Perginan to within one match of retaining their top 14 title last season, has previously described the chance to lead Italy as "unique at my age".

Mallett took over from Pierre Berbizier in 2007, signing a four-year deal.

His Six Nations record of three wins in 20 games was marginally better than Italy's record before he arrived - five wins and one draw in 40 matches.

This season, Italy finished with their fourth consecutive wooden spoon despite recording their biggest win in the competition to date, a 22-21 victory over France in Rome.

Mallett was linked with the performance director job at the Rugby Football Union but before the Six Nations campaign the former South Africa and Stade Francais coach ruled out coming to England, insisting: "It is not a job I'd get a lot of pleasure out of doing."

Under Mallett, Italy have beaten Fiji, Samoa and Argentina - and Scotland twice - as well as that win over France in March.

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