Italy rugby league secured a coup after naming former Australia Test international Trent Barrett as successor to head coach Carlo Napolitano.
The Azzurri were one of the surprise packages in last year's World Cup while they secured a famous 15-14 friendly victory over England ahead of the tournament.
Napolitano had been involved with rugby league in Italy since 2008, but opted to step down following the World Cup where they narrowly missed out on the quarter-finals.
Barrett, who played for Wigan Warriors for two seasons after joining in 2006, won 15 caps for the Kangaroos and made 11 appearances for New South Wales in State of Origin and possesses a highly impressive CV.
"We have the opportunity to work with one of the most important exponents of the World Rugby League," said Italian rugby league president Orazio D'Arro.
"We are proud of this opportunity. This job opportunity must motivate us to do more and more of our best.
"Convincing him to work with us has been challenging, but the project in its structure has convinced. We start with great enthusiasm this new partnership."
As part of a backroom shuffle Cameron Ciraldo will assist new head coach Barrett, Kelly Rolleston is the country's technical director while the re-elected Paul Broadbent will focus on the development of the league in Europe.
Barrett's primary task will be preparing the nation's stars to feature in the next World Cup that will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand in 2017.