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Raineri new Italy head coach after Di Giandomenico steps down

2022 TikTok Women's Six Nations Championship Round 5, Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, Wales 30/4/2022 Wales Women vs Italy Women Italy Women Head Coach Andrea Di Giandomenico Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ashley Crowden

Giovanni Raineri has been appointed as Italy’s new women’s head coach following Andrea Di Giandomenico’s decision to step down after 13 years in the role.

Raineri, who earned 23 caps for Italy’s men between 1998 and 2003, was previously the country’s under-18 coach and youth coach at the Permanent Training Centre in Milan.

Di Giandomenico oversaw unprecedented success during his reign, leading the Azzurre to back-to-back best-ever Rugby World Cup finishes in 2017 and 2022.

Former utility back Raineri is relishing the new challenge in front of him and determined to continue the progress made by Di Giandomenico.

“I am happy and excited about this opportunity that the Federation has entrusted to me. The elite women’s game is one of the pillars on which international rugby rests,” said Raineri.

“I am proud to take over the technical leadership of the fifth-best team in the world, aware of the responsibility that comes with this assignment and the difficulty of consolidating what has been achieved so far.

“I have already started to visit the clubs. I know that a lot of work awaits us, but I have found a lot of enthusiasm in our clubs and many girls who, inspired by what we have achieved in recent years, are ready to raise their hands and be ready if they deserve to be called up.

“One of my goals is to raise the culture of performance, not only on the technical front but also in preparation and nutrition, not only during the matches but in the everyday life of the athletes.

“Andrea Di Giandomenico has been my trainer, he has done an incredible job in these years leading the Azzurre.

“It is a privilege to take his place and I know that I will be able to count on his support and advice, which will be a valuable asset for me especially in the initial phase of my tenure.”

The Italians’ run to the quarter-finals in New Zealand was the culmination of a decade of sustained and consistent improvement that also saw Di Giandomenico’s side register a record-breaking second place in the 2019 Women’s Six Nations.

Their wins over Scotland, Ireland and France matched Italy’s exploits in 2015, when Di Giandomenico guided Italy to three victories in a single campaign for the very first time.

Di Giandomenico said: “It is essential to thank all the people who have supported me in this long professional journey: the Federation, first and foremost for the trust placed in me, the opportunities offered and, finally, their constant support.

“The staff with whom I have had the pleasure of collaborating over the years; The clubs that have always placed their trust in me and the main protagonists of this extraordinary sports project, the girls.

“We shared a good stretch of road, a path that has profoundly contributed to my development.

“Building relationships, in any professional and human field, gives meaning to the experience and helps develop the ability to choose what to think about, to guide actions according to the objectives set.

“I will carry these teachings with me in carrying out future assignments and I will treasure all the emotions experienced in these years.”

Di Giandomenico was appointed head coach of the women’s national team in 2009 and led the Azzurre to their first away win, against Wales, in his maiden Women’s Six Nations Championship in 2010.

The former captain of Italy’s national fire brigade will continue working for the Federazione Italiana Rugby as coach developer, a post he has held since 2016.