Winger Gabriele Di Giulio landed his first professional contract ahead of the 2016/2017 season signing a two-years deal with Zebre together with teammates-to-be Mbandà, Bellini and Castello, now part of the Azzurri group selected by Conor O’Shea for the ongoing Six Nations campaign.
A former Italian pupil in his juniors, capped at Under 17, 18 and 20, the 23-year-old from Frascati (he will turn 24 at the end of April) exploded during his tenure at the National Junior Academy ‘Ivan Francescato’ in Parma, before being launched into the top tier National Championship by Italian reigning champions Calvisano (with the yellow-and-blacks he also collected eight European competition caps).
With the Italian National Team Under-20 he was one of the top performers in a couple of Six Nations editions and at world level, he was one the heroes of the Azzurrini at the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship in New Zealand as he first contributed to the astonishing triumph against Argentina in the pool stage (scoring the first try of the game) and then scored the decisive try in the relegation match against Fiji that condemned the Islanders.
From Italian champions Calvisano, Di Giulio got the Zebre call as a permit player in the 2015/2016 season and won his first two Guinness PRO14 caps.
Some nasty injuries forced the former Italian Under-20 try-scorer away form the field during the past two years, slowing his learning process as he was limited to only four Guinness PRO14 games in his first full season as a pro (with one try scored).
But as he is regaining the perfect fit, Di Giulio will win his fourth appearance of the new season in Thomond Park tonight, making his second year in Parma the real chance of his career.
Standing at 185 centimetres and 86 kilograms the guy from Frascati is looking to make his way into the Zebre roster for the seasons ahead and that’s why he will be under scrutiny for the next four months.