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The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) has announced that a new team named the “Zebras” (Zebre) will replace Aironi Rugby in the Rabodirect Pro12 and Heineken Cup in the 2012/13 season.
The Italian Rugby Federation has confirmed that the team will be based and will play in Parma, at the “XXV Aprile” Stadium. The stadium is currently being refurbished for the new season.
The Zebra’s will replace Aironi, who finished bottom of the table in each of their two seasons in the Rabo Pro12 league, after they lost their status as a regional team in May when the IRF revoked their licence for financial reasons.
The new club, were originally founded in 1973 as an invitational club for North-Western Italy, will be coached by Christian Gajan with Jacques Brunel appointed as technical director.
Gajan will bring plenty experience to the new set up after spells Stade Toulousain and Castres Olympique, winning the European Shield in 2003 with Castres and the Frenchman also has a strong local knowledge of the game in Italy having coached Benetton Treviso from 1998 to 2000 and Venezia Mestre in 2008/09 season.
Former Italian hooker Fabio Ongaro, has been appointed as the Zebra’s team manager.