It’s scary to believe that Matteo Minozzi only made his senior club debut for Zebre last September but the speed demon is already making a name for himself in Rugby’s Greatest Championship.
The 21-year-old’s game is all about footwork, pace and unpredictability and his lines are excellent to watch while also proving devastating for defenders.
Despite Italy losing all three of their NatWest 6 Nations ties, Minozzi has been a shining light for the Azzurri and has a very bright future ahead of him.
It was a daunting Championship debut for the young full-back as two-time defending champions England scored seven tries in Rome in Round One.
But there were signs the exciting Zebre prospect could make an impact in the NatWest 6 Nations, making 70 metres, ten carries and beating four defending defenders in a promising 80 minutes.
A trip to Dublin against a red-hot Irish outfit followed but Minozzi was, again, unfazed by the opposition as the youngster grabbed his maiden Test try.
Minozzi also combined beautifully with Sergio Parisse to set up Edoardo Gori in what was another fine individual performance from the Padua-born full-back.
The Italians headed to Marseille for Round Three, where Minozzi once again left his mark, showing class despite the Azzurri’s defeat.
Two minutes from time, Minozzi found himself finishing off a fine move to cross the try-line for the second match in succession.
And his efforts haven’t gone unnoticed in the eyes of former Italian international Martin Castrogiovanni, who believes Minozzi has had a fine Championship so far.
He said: “It was important for Italy to finish with a score and I thought it was deserved because they played some good rugby in the game.
“There’s obviously a mix of emotions but it was good to see them score a great try like that, and Minozzi has had a good Championship so far.”
The full-back’s stats in the NatWest 6 Nations are equally as impressive, putting him amongst some of the biggest names in the Championship.
Minozzi has made 212 metres in three matches – only Stuart Hogg, Jacob Stockdale and Steff Evans have made more ground.
He has also beaten nine defenders and also has four offloads to his name. The 21-year-old has a rich history in the sport with his father, Umberto, playing for historic side Petrarca RFC, in Padua.
Making his debut for Calvisano’s senior side as an 18-year-old, Minozzi soon established himself as one of the most exciting prospects in the country, scoring 176 points in 34 games for the club.
Those performances earned him a move to PRO14 side Zebre last summer and an international debut soon followed in the autumn against Fiji.