Franco Smith will be at the Italy helm for the 2020 Six Nations as the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) continues its search for a permanent successor to Conor O’Shea.

Irishman O’Shea stepped down last week after over three years in the role, with Italy having failed to advance through a Rugby World Cup pool that included reigning champions New Zealand and eventual winners South Africa.

Wins over Namibia and Canada gave them some cause for cheer, although Italy were denied a meeting with the All Blacks – and therefore any shot at qualifying for the knockout stage – by the untimely arrival of Typhoon Hagibis.

The FIR confirmed the make-up of the nation’s coaching staff for the international window in February to March of next year, with former Springbok Smith leading a team that also includes Giampiero De Carli and Marius Goosen.

Smith, who was most recently with the Cheetahs in Super Rugby, will be out to avoid a fifth consecutive wooden spoon for Italy at the Six Nations.

A new coach is expected to be appointed by July 1.