Azzurri snap up Mallett

Nick Mallett is expected to replace Pierre Berbizier as head coach of Italy.

According to Rapport newspaper, Mallett will officially get the job on Sunday.

Mallett’s contract as WP director of rugby finishes at the end of the year, but he has taken a back seat since the arrival of Rassie Erasmus in Cape Town. He coached the Boks from 1997 to 2000 and had a 71% win rate. The Italy job will be his first with another national side.

Berbizier is favoured to replace Bernard Laporte as France’s coach after the World Cup. The Frenchman helped Italy finish third in the Six Nations this year, including historic wins against Scotland and Wales, and has a 40% win rate with the side. This is superior to Italy’s last two coaches, John Kirwan (31%) and Brad Johnstone (15%).

Meanwhile, the Azzurri beat Japan 36-12 in a World Cup warm-up match on Saturday. They were made to work hard for the win, but eventually outscored their opponents by five tries to two.