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Guinness PRO12 Editor

7 Jun 2012


Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) announced today "Zebre" (Zebras) asthe new team to replace Aironi Rugby in the Rabodirect Pro12 and Heineken Cup in the 2012/13 season.

“Zebre” were originally founded in 1973 as invitational club for North-Western Italy. FIR announced as well that Zebre will be based and will play in Parma, at the “XXV Aprile” Stadium, which is currently being refurbished and expanded.

Technical staff

Director of rugby: Roberto Manghi
Technical director: Christian Gajan
Coaches: Vincenzo Troiani, Alessandro Troncon
Team Manager: Fabio Ongaro
Fitness coach: Massimo Zaghini

FIR appointed 53-year-old Roberto Manghi as Director of Rugby. Manghi, coming from Rugby Reggio in the 2011/2012 Eccellenza championship, was general manager with Gran Parma andRugby Parma, reaching with both clubs the Eccellenza semifinals.

Christian Gajan was indicated by Italy Head Coach Jacques Brunel and appointed as technical director: The 53-year-old frenchman has a strong knowledge of Italian rugby having coached Benetton Treviso from 1998 to 2000 and Venezia Mestre in the 2008/09 season. Gajan also coached Stade Toulousain and Castres Olympique, winning the European Shield in 2003 with Castres.

Gajan will be assisted by Vincenzo Troiani and Alessandro Troncon as coaches. Troiani reached the Eccellenza semi finals as head coach in 2005/2006 season winning the Italian Cup in the same year. He then coached Italy U18 and Italy U20 and was part of the technical staff at the U20 andU18 National Academies. Troncon, the all-time most capped Italian player with 101 appearances, retired in 2007, and was then appointed as Italy backs coach, a position he held until the end of the 2012 RBS 6 Nations.

Fabio Ongaro, 81 times capped as hooker for Italy, announced today his retirement from rugby and was appointed Zebre’s team manager. Massimo Zaghini, now attending Junior World Championship 2012 in South Africa with the Italian U20 team, will be the fitness and conditioning coach after covering the same position with the U20 National Academy this year, taking part in the 2011 Italy Rugby World Cup preparation as Alex Marco’s assistant.