Sebastian Negri’s rollercoaster season has hit an upward curve after the talented Hartpury RFC back row was selected by Italy A for the second successive year.
Sebastian, who has just completed the second year of his Sports Business Management degree at Hartpury, will head to a training camp in Italy on June 1st and then to Romania for a summer tour from June 6th to 19th, with fixtures against Argentina A (Jaguars), Namibia and Uruguay.
Having won the BUCS (University Centre) first team player of the season award in 2015 and featured for Gloucester in the A League, Sebastian was named as captain of that team for the current campaign. However, a serious injury in an early fixture against Exeter University left him needing surgery on a torn and ruptured pectoral, cutting short his season.
"This year has certainly had its ups and downs,” said Sebastian, who came to Hartpury from Hilton College in South Africa, via a season with the Western Province Academy based in Cape Town. Although originally from Zimbabwe, he has an Italian father and hence, an Italian passport.
“I was very proud to be named captain of the university first team and devastated to sustain a serious injury so early in the season. It has been a long and hard four to five months of getting back fully fit but I have been very lucky to have great support from the Hartpury medical staff and conditioning coaches, as well as all my team-mates.
“I am very excited for this opportunity to represent Italy again. It's a dream come true. I am truly humbled and blessed and hopefully this tournament sets a great platform for my final year at Hartpury, which I am very much looking forward too.
“Now I’m fully fit again, I’m hoping this selection will be a springboard into a successful season on the pitch for the BUCS side and for Hartpury RFC in National League One."
In choosing to study and play his rugby at Hartpury, Sebastian is following in the footsteps of his older brother, Tom, who graduated in 2012 and is now a successful sports agent in South Africa.
Sebastian collected a number of Italian caps at Under-20s level before being selected by Italy A to contest the ‘Tbilisi Cup’ last year, when the ‘Azzurri’ took on Emerging Ireland, as well as the full national sides of both Georgia and Uruguay, who won many new fans at Rugby World Cup 2015.