Zebre joins the Pro 12
Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) announced Zebre (Zebras) as the new team to replace Aironi in the Pro12 and Heineken Cup in the 2012/13 season.
Zebre was originally founded in 1973 as invitational club for North-Western Italy. Zebre will be based in Parma at the XXV Aprile Stadium, which is currently being refurbished and expanded.
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 and Rugby Parma, reaching with both clubs the Eccellenza semifinals.
Christian Gajan is the team's technical director, as the 53-years-old Frenchman has a strong knowledge of the Italian rugby having coached Benetton Treviso from 1998 to 2000 and Venezia Mestre in 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 semifinals 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, all-time most capped Italian player with 101 appearances, retired in 2007 from rugby and was then appointed as Italy backs coach, position he held until the end of the 2012 Six Nations.
Fabio Ongaro, 81 times capped as hooker for Italy, has announced his retirement from rugby and was appointed Zebre's team manager.