Mauro Bergamasco insists he’s found a fresh lease of life with RaboDirect PRO12 new-boys Zebre and he’s looking to make use of all 92 Test caps for Italy in the club’s curtain raiser against the Dragons on Friday.
Having taken Aironi’s place in the PRO12 this season, director of rugby Roberto Manghi has filled out his squad with a mixture of seasoned internationals and talented youngsters.
The likes of Bergamasco, skipper Marco Bortolami, back rower Josh Sole and front rowers Salvatore Perugini and Carlo Festuccia have more than 400 Test caps between them.
And while the 33-year-old believes that their experience will help develop the club’s youth, he admits that their exuberance is also driving him to maintain the standards which have made him one of his country’s most consistent performers in the last ten years.
“These are the last years of my career and here at the Zebre I’ve found the right stimulus to keep on giving my all,” said Bergamasco.
“I want to continue to enjoy playing at a high level and here I’m doing that.
“There is a great link between lots of youngsters in the group and us older athletes.
“As far as I am concerned I am here to put my experience at the group’s disposition and to profit from the enthusiasm the young guys transmit.
“All the boys are working really hard to be as useful as possible to the cause, showing an important attitude to work which a new team like the Zebre needs to immediately build their own identity.
“Now there is a great desire to enter into live competition to show immediately that we are able to have our own say.”