Italy captain Manuela Furlan is optimistic that the upcoming Women’s Six Nations can help to grow women’s rugby in Italy.
The 30-year-old replaced Sara Barattin as Italy skipper in November and will aim to make full use of her nearly 70 caps of experience in their Championship opener against Scotland.
Now she is hoping that performing on the world stage can help her to put women’s rugby on the map in her home country and says that being recognised by other women in sport can only be a good thing.
“We want to continue the growth of women’s rugby in Italy. It’s been great to be recognised by other women in sport and we want this level of support to continue”, said Furlan.
“I’m very excited for the Six Nations to start because it’s such an important and prestigious tournament”
“It’s going to be a very challenging match when we travel to Glasgow to face Scotland, but we are looking forward to it.
“We have been working in training on rectifying our weaknesses in order to put up a good fight there.
“It’s going to be a very exciting year for rugby in Italy. We are proving our hunger and desire to perform on the world stage.
Furlan does have pedigree in the Championship after the full-back helped the Azzurre to earn a best–ever Women’s Six Nations finish of third place in 2015.
And it was head coach Andrea di Giandomenico who decided to bestow the captain’s armband upon Furlan in the belief that she’s the best person to lead his team at the Championship.
“In a phase of profound generational change, together with Barattin and the other long-time athletes, we considered it was the most suitable moment to start a new path,” he said.
“Manuela has the charisma, authority and international experience to lead the team and effectively manage the team on the Test match scene.”