10.33 UPDATE: CONOR O'SHEA WAS NAMED ITALY COACH THIS MORNING.
— Italrugby (@Federugby) March 25, 2016
After long last, today we'll finally learn who Italy have turned to replace Jacques Brunel as head coach. The suspicion for a long time is that former Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea will be offered the job. Well, according to reports in the Irish Independent today, it seems that O'Shea isn't be the only Irishman being recruited by Italian rugby. Brendan Fanning has written today that O'Shea has poached one of the best coaching minds in Irish rugby, Stephen Aboud, aka the IRFU's head of technical direction, to join a coaching team that also includes Mike Catt.
A scrawl through Aboud's Linkedin page gives you a sense of the kind of homemade coaching expertise that the IRFU are set to lose. Aboud has worked with Irish rugby since 1990 and has focused on the elite development of players since 1995. He describes his coaching philosophy as 'Rugby Coaching is simple ..... But to do it well is not easy'. You can read his paper on 'Developing Rugby and Coaching Wisdom' here.
Ireland's loss will be Italy's gain.