Scotland and Italy will play for The Cuttitta Cup – a new trophy celebrating the contribution of Massimo Cuttitta to rugby – for the first time when they meet in the Guinness Six Nations on Saturday.
The trophy, unveiled in Edinburgh today (March 7), has been crafted in memory of the former Italy captain and hugely respected and popular Scotland scrum coach, who died of Covid 11 months ago aged 54.
Massimo won 70 caps for Italy in a ten-year Test career from 1990, captaining his country on 22 occasions, before entering coaching after hanging up his boots.
He worked initially as a scrum consultant with Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors at the other end of the M8 before becoming Scotland scrum coach from 2009-2015.
“When Massimo passed away, it was evident how highly regarded he was whether in Italy, Scotland or beyond, as a scrum technician but above all, as a selfless, warm and compassionate human being,” explained Scottish Rugby’s Chief Executive, Mark Dodson.
“Massimo was a big man, who made a big impression on the people fortunate enough to meet him.
“We wanted there to be something tangible by which Massimo could be remembered and we were delighted to put forward a trophy in his honour.”
Counterparts at the Italian Rugby Federation were equally determined to recognise the man they called “Mouse”.
FIR President Marzio Innocenti said: “Massimo has been a great servant of Italian rugby during his time with the Azzurri jersey and, as a scrum coach, his ability to innovate such a key area of the game made him a magnificent ambassador for our rugby beyond the borders.
“The Cuttitta Cup witnesses his legacy to the game, and we are proud to have been involved in the project and to award the Cuttitta Cup for the first time on our home ground.”
And Massimo’s family were also much taken by the idea.
His twin brother, Marcello, himself an international winger who, like Massimo, was a pivotal figure in Italy’s emergence onto the world stage in the 1990s, said: “When Scottish Rugby contacted our family and told us they wanted to inaugurate a trophy in Mouse’s memory we were very honoured.
“Massimo loved Scotland. He loved the Scottish people. There’s always a story behind sporting trophies and to think that in 100 years’ time, people will hear the story of Massimo when they see this trophy is quite incredible.”
The brief for the trophy was that it had to incorporate the scrum in some shape or form.
And the task was taken on by the long-established independent Edinburgh jewellers Hamilton & Inches, who have cared for the Calcutta Cup and, in the more recent past, created the Doddie Weir Cup, which is contested between Scotland and Wales.
Senior silversmith, David Ramsay, hailed it as “the most challenging trophy I’ve worked on”.
Alongside seven other colleagues, including engraver Dario Batzella, who has Italian heritage, a design was hatched, whereby the loosehead prop formed one handle of the trophy, the tighthead the other.
Marcello, and Massimo’s older brother, Michele, visited Hamilton & Inches workshops in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town, during the manufacture of the trophy and had a hand in its creation.
Marcello added: “The Cup is fantastic. There are no words to express how proud we are. Thank you with all our hearts.”