Italian pair get Ospreys experience

Two Italian youngsters have been handed the chance to impress Scott Johnson and his coaching team during pre-season.

The duo, who both play for ASR Milano, have been invited to spend the summer with the region as part of the Ospreys ongoing partnership with their home club, who secured promotion to the Italian Serie A league in May.

19-year old Simone Ragusi is an Italy age-grade cap who can play at outside half or centre and open side flanker Marco Ferrari, also 19, have reported for pre-season and will be fully integrated into the B group at the Ospreys’ Llandarcy Academy of Sport HQ.

It is the first time since the Ospreys teamed up with Milano that young players from the club have had the opportunity to experience life within a professional rugby set-up, and it is hoped that it will become a regular occurrence, with players and coaches moving in both directions.

It follows on from a successful training camp hosted by the region in Milan two months ago when a number of Ospreys players, including Duncan Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Dan Biggar and Sonny Parker took players from the Milano age-grade set-up for a number of training sessions.

Andrew Hore, Chief Operations Officer at the Ospreys, explained:

“Our partnerships with ASR Milano and also, Rovigo, offer fantastic opportunities to all parties, in terms of sharing and exchanging technical expertise and resources as well as actively promoting youth development, providing genuine opportunities and pathways for young players and coaches.

“The introduction of two Italian teams into the league last season was a hugely positive step forward for rugby in Europe, opening up new avenues. The strides made by both Treviso and Aironi are clear to see.

“As a progressive organisation we want the Ospreys to be at the forefront of the development of the game in Europe. As well as providing opportunities for young players from Italy to gain first hand experience of our environment, our partners also offer us the ability to provide development opportunities for Ospreylian players and coaches as well, so it is a mutually beneficial relationship.

“In the case of Simone and Marco, they are two young, talented players who will benefit from their time spent with us. They already have developed good reputations as real prospects in their home country, and being part of our environment can only help take them to the next level as players.”

Ragusi has extensive experience of international rugby at age-grade level, featuring throughout last year’s FIRA U18 tournament in Treviso before stepping up to feature for Italy’s U19 team for two friendly matches against Italian Serie B teams.

He won a number of man of the match awards during Milano’s promotion campaign last season, a campaign in which Ferrari, who has played regular representative rugby at provincial level, won the Player of the Year award.

To watch video footage of the training camp hosted by the Ospreys at ASR Milano, click here.