Zebre skipper Biagi brings up his Guinness PRO14 century

Charlie Talbot-Smith
11 April 2019

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George Biagi joined an exclusive Guinness PRO14 club last weekend when he led out Zebre for their clash with Connacht in Parma.

The 33-year-old Lucca native brought up 100 league appearances in the Guinness PRO14 – becoming just the sixth Italian to hit that milestone since the league’s inception.

Unfortunately, the lock – who made his debut in the league all the way back in 2010 with former club Aironi – was unable to prevent Zebre from falling to a narrow 6-5 defeat to the Irish province.

But the Scotland-born lock more than made his mark with 21 tackles and 12 carries in a stand-out individual showing.

And Biagi, who captained Zebre last weekend and on 48 other occasions, was honoured to bring up his century.

“When I made my debut, I never thought I’d reach this goal in this beautiful tournament,” said Biagi, who has won 23 caps for Italy and appeared in 16 games this season for Zebre.

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“When you are young, every game is a great opportunity but today I realise that you have to enjoy all the encounters to the maximum while trying to pass on your experience to your younger team-mates, making everyone understand that every game should be played at its best and the present must be lived without focusing only on the future.

“It was an incredible experience to be able to play against the best European clubs in this fantastic tournament and share the field with some of the greats of Italian rugby, like Salvatore Perugini, Mauro Bergamasco, Andrea Masi, Marco Bortolami, Fabio Ongaro and Quintin Geldenhuys.

“The league has evolved and is at the absolute forefront – with the two South African teams, it has become the most compelling and spectacular tournament in the world.

“Over the years, seeing teams, stadiums and players change for the better is what I like best; being the protagonist of this great growth in our tournament.”

Italian players with more than 100 appearances in the Guinness PRO14:

Alberto Sgarbi 120 (Benetton Rugby)
Tito Tebaldi 113 (39 Aironi Rugby, 16 Zebre Rugby, 16 Ospreys, 42 Benetton Rugby)
Valerio Bernabò 112 (61 Benetton Rugby, 51 Zebre Rugby) *
Alberto De Marchi 109 (36 Aironi Rugby, 73 Benetton Rugby)
Ludovico Nitoglia 106 (Benetton Rugby) *
George Biagi 100 (79 Zebre Rugby, 21 Aironi Rugby)

* = retired

Players with the most Zebre Rugby caps in the Guinness PRO14:

Guglielmo Palazzani 93
Dario Chistolini 89
Oliviero Fabiani 86
Andrea De Marchi 95 (84 with Zebre Rugby)
George Biagi 100 (79 with Zebre Rugby)

 

 

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