Italy under-20s captain davide fragnito_ cooking up a recipe for future rugby success _ rbs 6 nations

With the likes of Venice, Bologna, Turin and Padua, cities all north of Rome hosting Italy’s Under-20s’ and Women’s fixtures this year, makes the story of Benevento, much further south down the “boot” of Italy just 50 kilometres north east of Naples a fascinating outpost of Italian rugby passion and talent.

Current Italian Under-20s captain Davide Fragnito first picked up a rugby ball at the tender age of six after he persuaded his father Rosario to allow him to tag along with his older brother Arturo to rugby training.

It would seem that Benevento is something of a rugby island surrounded by a sea of soccer as Fragnito explains, “My big rugby influence was my home city.

Quick homemade pasta sauce recipe Rugby is a big part of Benevento, socially because unlike a lot of cities in Italy where soccer is everything, rugby is everything there. Homemade spaghetti sauce recipe from scratch Benevento is a rugby city.”

To further compound the southern city’s status as a rugby hot bed, Zebre fly-half Carlo Canna who started for Italy in their opening RBS 6 Nations Championship fixtures this year against France and England is another son of Benevento.

Fragnito sees Canna as a standard bearer for rugby in his region, “It is very important to have a player who is as good as Carlo Canna and with as a high a profile playing for Italy coming from Benevento, it puts Benevento on the national rugby map.”

Although Fragnito plies his trade as a blindside flanker there is also a sense of pride and drawing inspiration from the rise of 23-year-old Canna over the past year as he counts the back as a good friend, “Carlo is one of my friends and I know him from outside of rugby, so I am very proud and happy for what he has achieved in Italian rugby in the last year.”

This is Fragnito’s second Under-20ss Six Nations campaign for the Azzurri after he made his debut at this level against Ireland Under-20s in last year’s competition. Homemade pasta sauce nz Further appearances in the 2015 Under-20s Six Nations against Scotland and England came for the back row who turned 20 earlier this month.

Fragnito shows the sort of character that has had him named captain for Italy’s age-group class of 2016, as he says, “I am a lot more comfortable and confident this year having had the experience of playing in the tournament last year. Best homemade spaghetti sauce recipe from scratch I understand what it takes to help some of the new boys get prepared and used to playing these sort of high level games.”

The young player has left his hometown in the south for Parma where he is part of the National Rugby Academy there. Easy homemade cheese sauce for pasta He believes that experience has helped him to bond with some of his Under-20s colleagues, “Playing in academy in Parma, I have developed very strong relationships and friendships with other players in the team.”

Further to this, “Another reason, we have a strong bond in the team is because quite a few of us were born in 1996, so a group of us have played for national under 18’s together, so we know each other very well.”

Although, he has plans to study psychology in university next year and to play for a professional side in Italy, the Fragnito family business, a restaurant in Benevento is very close to the young captain’s heart as he speaks with great fondness and detail of some of the regional dishes served there, “A typical dish you will find in the restaurant is cardone, which is a type of soup made with vegetables and meat.”

Moving on to the pasta course, he recommends, “Then you might eat scarpariello, which is another famous dish from Benevento it is pasta, usually spaghetti, made with a pomodoro or tomato sauce and local cheese from the region.”

He also jokes that due to the abundance of delicious cuisine available to him as a youngster, “When I was a young, I was a very fat boy, so I had to play prop!”

Having lost three in a row in this campaign against France, England and Scotland, Fragnito is pragmatic in his assessment of his side, “It can be very difficult at times to play at this level as we have to move up to a higher level of play very quickly. Homemade pasta sauce tomato We are playing against players from some of the top rugby academies in the world, so the quality of player we are facing is very high.”

Despite these challenge, pitting himself and his side against tough opposition is something the flanker relishes, “I am very happy to play in the Six Nations because it provides a very important chance to play against the best players of my age, to play with my teammates and to make my family proud.”

One aspect of underage rugby where Italy differs greatly to the likes of England, Ireland and Scotland is how rugby is not part of the sporting landscape in schools. Recipe for homemade tomato pasta sauce Fragnito points this out as something that could help future generations of young Azzurri, “I believe rugby should be played in schools in Italy in both elementary schools, so young children can learn the sport and then in high schools.

“You can see with the other nations like England and Ireland that they are playing at such a high level because of how they play rugby as part of school.”

Looking ahead to the remainder of the Under 20’s Six Nations, Fragnito wishes to rally his troops, “I hope we can play well, get some good performances and that will grow confidence amongst our players.”