Milan (AFP)

South African coach Franco Smith, confirmed as Italy’s XV coach, said Wednesday he wanted to create "new DNA" for Italian rugby, making it more "unpredictable", better "physically" with a "great work ethic".

Smith, 47, took over from Nazionale Interim last November after the resignation of his predecessor, Irishman Conor O'Shea, after the World Cup in Japan. His contract must run until 2024, therefore beyond the next World Cup organized in 2023 in France.

"We will try to build new DNA," said Smith during a videoconference from his home in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Smith wants to rely on "three cornerstones": "greater unpredictability", "being better physically" and "the ability to always give everything thanks to a great work ethic".

"These are goals that must concern everyone, from under eight to the national team," he said.

The former Springbok player had a difficult start at the helm of Italy in February as interim coach with three losses in as many matches in the Six Nations Tournament in Wales (42-0), in France (35-22) and Rome against Scotland (17-0), two of which therefore, without scoring a single point.

The rest of the Tournament was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

© 2020 AFP