Video calls have become the main method of communication for most people during the ongoing lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Italy squad found a novel way to use the platform to give captain Luca Bigi a birthday treat.
With hooker Bigi turning 29, the Azzurri squad assembled remotely and covered their cameras before the skipper joined the call.
Once a slightly bemused Bigi is in the ‘room’, they reveal themselves with a cry of ‘Azzurri’ and regale him with an out-of-tune rendition of ‘happy birthday’ (in fairness, it’s not easy harmonising with everyone’s microphones slightly out of sync!).
The laughing front-rower doesn’t seem to mind that his team-mate’s singing skills aren’t quite Pavarotti-esque however, as he thanks them for the surprise.
The official Italian Rugby Federation Twitter account posted the video, saying: “A team is a family, even – especially – when its members are far away.
“A surprise for Azzurri captain Luca Bigi on his birthday – yes, he got excited, like us! #Together #DistantButUnited”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic brought a halt to the 2020 Guinness Six Nations, Bigi had skippered Italy in all three of their games – against Wales, France and Scotland.
A great use of video chat and it’s fair to say that even in lockdown, this is a birthday surprise the captain won’t forget in a hurry!