Kieran Crowley Named as Italy Coach: A Brief Review of Canada’s Record Under Crowley, Anscombe & Jones
Kieran Crowley has been named the coach of Italy after putting in his time with the Italian PRO 14 club Benetton since 2016. Crowley was the Canada coach prior to that, he ended his term with Canada shortly after the 2015 Rugby World Cup. If you need a reminder of that fiasco, where he was rehired on a 2 year term but then he declined the offer and went to Italy, here’s the article from Jan 6, 2016.
Crowley arrived in 2008, replacing Ric Suggitt after the 2007 World Cup. The graph below shows he did well his first term, raising Canada’s ranking by the time of the 2011 World Cup. His second term however was when it started going wrong. Canada plummeted in the rankings and fell below rival USA for the first time. Francois Ratier came in as temporary coach for the 2016 campaign and helped Canada to a winning record at the Americas Rugby Championship. Mark Anscombe was hired next and the graph dipped sharply, he didn’t last long. Kingsley Jones came in 2017 and helped stop the slide temporarily, the graph only goes to 2018 when Canada returned to 20th in the rankings. Subsequently under Jones, Canada have fallen to 23rd.
Crowley did well at Benetton and perhaps having been immersed in Italian rugby culture for 5 years at the club level, he will be able to apply that knowledge to the national team. The article from Associated Press seems to indicate that, In the five years with Benetton Rugby, Ive been able to learn and understand the country and its rugby culture, an understanding which I cannot wait to develop as head coach of the national team,. Perhaps that’s one thing he learned from his time in Canada, you can’t effectively jump into a head coaching role in a country without first understanding and then working with the existing culture and support structures.
from Associated Press
ROME (AP) Former New Zealand international Kieran Crowley was hired as Italy rugby coach on Wednesday, replacing Franco Smith.
Crowley has been coach at Italian club Benetton since 2016. He coached at international level with Canada from 2008-16.
Smith, a South African who took charge after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, will move into a new role as the head of high performance in Italian rugby.
In the five years with Benetton Rugby, Ive been able to learn and understand the country and its rugby culture, an understanding which I cannot wait to develop as head coach of the national team, Crowley said.
Crowley won the World Cup as a player with the All Blacks in 1987.
Italy is coming off a sixth straight last-place finish in the Six Nations, igniting the debate over whether the Azzurri deserve their guaranteed place in the competition.