Former England defence coach Paul Gustard has penned a deal with Benetton Rugby, commencing in July this year and running through to June 2024.
The 44 year-old will assume the role of assistant head coach with special focus on defence.
As a player, Gustard represented Leicester Tigers, London Irish and Saracens. Since entering the realm of coaching, he has been involved with Saracens, Harlequins and, as mentioned above, the English national team.
“I am thrilled and happy to join Benetton Rugby for the 2021/22 season,” Gustard said.
“When my wife Laura and I decided in December that we wanted a new experience and new challenges, we were delighted to have so many opportunities available to us nationally and internationally. We wanted to be part of a group where there was a clear vision, a deep level of trust and a dynamic environment driven towards high goals.
When I first spoke to Marco and he explained his plans and vision in detail, I felt inspired by his passion and energy. This link was deepened together with general manager Pavanello who outlined a clear strategic and cultural purpose for the club and my specific roles within it.
I already feel extremely involved and have a strong alignment with Antonio and the club management, so I know this is the right opportunity for us. They have been nothing short of exceptional in the way they communicated with me and we are very excited to be joining the club.
Benetton Rugby has a talented roster of players with an exciting team of coaches. I am looking forward to assisting and supporting this team in our collective development. It has only been a few years since the club played the PRO14 final series, an incredibly exciting, tough competition that with the entry of the best South African teams will only continue to grow.
I want to test myself, improve and contribute to Benetton Rugby's future success. I will strive to learn the language, embrace the culture and invest in them in the same way they did with me. I can't wait to move to one of the most beautiful places in the world and meet the players, the staff and be part of a very special family!"