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Tuesday, 23 October, 2001, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Azzuri opt for 'veteran' input
Diego Dominguez
Dominguez (second right) is Italy's record points-scorer
Italy coach Brad Johnstone has revolutionised the country's rugby union coaching set-up.

Former New Zealand prop Johnstone, in his third season in charge of the Azzurri, plans to run the team by commitee.

Italian newspaper Gazzetto dello Sport reported on Tuesday that five senior squad members will help coach the younger players.

Johnstone had already recruited another Kiwi legend John Kirwan as his assistant with special responsibility for the backs.


This is something that is common in the southern hemisphere but less in the north
Diego Dominguez

Now the pair will be helped by a 'praetorian guard' consisting of Diego Dominguez, Alessandro Troncon, Cristian Stoica, Alessandro Moscardi and Carlo Checchinato.

Dominguez is Italy's record points-scorer, Troncon and Stoica the senior scrum-half and full-back respectively, Moscardi the skipper and hooker and number eight Checchinato boasts the world record for international tries by a forward (21).

Checchinato said: "The advantage is to have five pairs of eyes rather than just one.

"We will have no influence in team selection but us veterans have always had our say, this is just an official recognition that is pleasing to us."

Italy coach Brad Johnstone
Brad Johnstone has enlisted help

Dominguez said: "This is something that is common in the southern hemisphere but less in the north.

"It makes for a closer relationship with the coach and it was Brad's idea."

Italy kick off the season with three Tests. The first is against another team Johnstone has coached, Fiji on 10 November at Treviso.

One week later they meet South Africa at Genoa and then on 24 November they face Samoa at L'Aquila.

See also:

03 Feb 01 | Ireland
20 Jul 02 | Rugby Union
16 Feb 01 | Italy
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