Kirwan's existing deal was due to expire in June. The former All Black took over as Italy coach from his compatriotBrad johnstone in 2002. Under Kirwan Italy notched up one win, againstScotland, in this season's RBS Six Nations.
Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has missedout on his preferred choice as assistant coach after Wales backs coach ScottJohnson opted out of negotiations.
Jones wanted to have Johnson in the role ahead of Australia'sdomestic Test season, starting in June, but decided against it afterAustralian-born Johnson baulked at making a decision. Johnson, a key figure in the Welsh team's revival during lastyear's World Cup, was to be Jones's coaching co-ordinator for three years headinginto the 2007 tournament.
Jones was forced to look around the rugby world for replacementsafter the World Cup when Ewen McKenzie and Glen Ella left and took up otheremployment opportunities.
Former Wallaby prop Andrew Blades, coaching Newcastle in England,is set to become the new Wallabies' forwards coach. "We were obviously interested in Scotty, I don't think there
"We've got a time-frame we operate under, we want to have allcoaches on board by May 14 at the latest and he couldn't commit to that so weended the negotiations."
The former NSW assistant coach travelled to Sydney last month tomeet with the Australian Rugby Union, but it's believed a family illness wasbehind his failure to sign up.
Wales was eager for Johnson to continue as skills coach under newnational coach Mike Ruddock, while he has received other lucrative coachingoffers in Europe.
Before joining Wales, Johnson helped Jones prepare the AustralianA team that beat the British and Irish Lions at Gosford in 2001. Jones said there were "two or three candidates still in therunning" to take the job.
NSW backs coach Andy Friend is a frontrunner while ACT deputyAnthony Eddy has also been mentioned, although he has put his hand up for thevacant Brumbies head coach role.
AFP - 2004.