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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 24 March, 2019

Zebre part ways with head coach after hammerings by Leinster and Connacht

The Italian club have conceded 20 tries in their last two games.

ZEBRE HAVE ANNOUNCED that they have parted ways with head coach Gianluca Guidi.

Though the Italian club’s official statement says Guidi’s contract has been terminated by “mutual agreement,” his departure comes after Zebre were hammered by Leinster and Connacht in consecutive weeks.

Marcello Violi dejected after conceding a try Zebre have conceded 20 tries in their last two games. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Italians conceded 10 tries in last weekend’s 66-21 defeat to Pat Lam’s Connacht in the Champions Cup, while Leinster also scored 10 tries in their 70-6 victory at the RDS the previous week.

Zebre have lost all five of their Champions Cup games this season so far, failing to notch a single losing bonus point. They have conceded 43 tries in those five European fixtures, raising questions as to whether they deserve to be involved in the top-tier competition.

The Parma-based outfit haven’t fared much better in the Guinness Pro12, with just one win in their 11 games meaning that they are rooted to the bottom of the table, with Italian rivals Treviso one place above them.

Guidi took charge as head coach in the summer of 2015 but has not been able to lead the club to any noticeable improvement and now makes way for a new boss.

“By mutual agreement with the club, we have become aware of the need to take a step back,” said Guidi. ”I wish Zebre every success in the future.”

Forwards coach Victor Jimenez will take charge of the coaching staff after Guidi’s exit.

Zebre are currently in severe financial difficulty. Indeed, club president Stefano Pagliarini told TV Parma that they need to raise €1 million by 15 February to make it to the end of this season.

It remains to be seen whether parting ways with their Guidi can make a difference, but these are desperately worrying times for Zebre.

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Murray Kinsella

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