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Parma (Italy), May 8, 2024 - Massimo Brunello, outgoing Italy U20 head coach, has been appointed head coach of Zebre Parma, replacing Fabio Roselli who, as announced this morning, will leave the Parma-based franchise's bench at the end of the current season.

At the same time, the club and the Italian Rugby Union announce that Richard Hodges –defence coach of the Italina franchise– will assume the role of defence coach of the Senior National team ahead of the 2024 summer tour.

Statements from Zebre Parma President Domenico Bordieri: "We are happy to welcome into the Zebre family a person who has made rugby a reason for living, first as a player and then as a coach. Massimo's ability to get the best out of young people and to motivate the teams he has coached, combined with his certified knowledge of Rugby, make him an ideal prospect for our franchise. Not least, his recent federal experience brings our team ever closer to the spirit and attitude with which the national representatives have performed, reaping the satisfactions we all know. That is why we think this new cycle will bring a step forward in the path we started with our inauguration last year”.

Zebre Parma sporting director Franco Tonni added: "Massimo Brunello is an expert connoisseur of rugby played and of the dynamics of the Italian movement. He is a coach with great interpersonal skills who will be able to add to an established group of players that crucial growth factor, as part of a technical-sporting path already underway that will see an increasing number of Italian rugby talents starring in the Zebre jersey and hopefully also in the National team's”.

“I thank the Zebre Board of Directors for this opportunity and the Italian Rugby Union President Marzio Innocenti for endorsing the choice. A tough but exciting challenge awaits me. I have a lot of motivation, meeting again many players I have coached and that have the a high desire to assert themselves. The mix and the conditions bode well: I hope to find the right understanding, confidence and harmony as soon as possible to start in the best way this new journey together”, Massimo Brunello concluded.

Massimo Brunello's profile:

Massimo Brunello
Massimo Brunello (Arquà Polesine, June 18, 1967) boasts a past as a player with two Italian championships won in 1988 and 1990 with Rovigo and 8 caps with Italy mostly collected in the FIRA Cup.

He embarked on a coaching career in 2000, first in Rovigo's youth team then as head coach, leading the club to the Challenge Cup and to the playoffs of the championship in 2008.

In 2009 he became a federal coach, taking care of the Italian youth selections until 2015.

From 2015 to 2020 he was head coach of Rugby Calvisano, Italian top division club. Under his leadership, the squad developed a very strong game identity, sealed a record of 64 wins in 80 matches, won two championships in 2017 and 2019, gained two Challenge Cup appearances and a victory in the Continental Shield.

From 2020 to 2024 he was head coach of Italy U20, helping to write some of the most beautiful pages of the selection’s sporting history. Memorable was the historic success with England at the Six Nations 2022 replicated a few months later at the U20 Summer Series in Treviso, the historic third place at the Six Nations 2023 closed with 15 points in the standings, the first success against South Africa in 2023 and with France away in 2024.
Brunello rejoins at Zebre many players he coached during his experience with Italy U20 (Andreani, Bozzoni, Di Bartolomeo, Ferrari, Gesi, Hasa, Neculai, Pani, Rizzoli and Quattrini), but also several athletes who wore the Rugby Calvisano jersey during his tenure as head coach of the club (Bruno, Lucchin, Manfredi, Mazza, Fischetti, Trulla and Zambonin).