Marcato joins Italy U20 on a high after club glory

Andrea Marcato Ita
Andrea Marcato, the newly-appointed assistant coach for Italy’s U20s, brings with him a wealth of experience and success to his new role.

With five Italian championships under his belt as a player, having donned the number 10 and occasionally 15 jerseys for Treviso (4 titles) and Calvisano (1 title), as well as a Coppa Italia, two Supercoppe, and a Trofeo Eccellenza, Marcato's achievements are remarkable. As a coach, he has led Petrarca, a historic club in Padova where he began his professional rugby career in 2002, to three national titles since taking up coaching in 2015.

Just days ago, Marcato celebrated a triumphant victory over Viadana in Parma, securing Petrarca's 15th championship title. This victory ties Petrarca with Benetton in the all-time rankings, just two titles shy of the record held by Milan. Marcato reflects on this high note as he transitions to his new role with the U20 national team.

"The decision to part ways was mutual and made around March, but we kept it private," Marcato, now an assistant coach alongside former Rovigo player Alessandro Lodi, said. Roberto Santamaria has taken the helm of the U20 team, succeeding Massimo Brunello. "Ending on such a high note, especially after a challenging season, feels like the best possible way to move forward."

Marcato acknowledges the tough season, marked by criticism and narrow losses, but believes these challenges strengthened the team. "We were criticised unfairly at times, but it brought us closer together. Winning the championship silenced those critics and became a rallying point for the team."

From Victory to New Challenges

Hardly had Marcato finished celebrating Petrarca's win when he was thrust into his new role, starting with a training camp in Parma. The U20 team will have another camp followed by a friendly against Spain in San Benedetto del Tronto before heading to South Africa for the World Rugby U20s Championship.

"This opportunity comes at the right time in my coaching career," Marcato observed. "Coaching a U20 team is very different from coaching a senior club team. Here, the focus is on developing young players who are still growing. I have fond memories from my time coaching at the U21 level, including two World Cups and two Six Nations tournaments."

Transition and Goals

Marcato approaches his new role with humility, acknowledging the groundwork laid by the previous regime. "My main goal is to bring calmness and provide guidance to the players, ensuring they enjoy these experiences. Coaching young players requires a different approach than coaching a senior team."

The Italian U20 team has made significant strides, defeating major teams like England, South Africa, France, Scotland, and Wales, and nearly toppling the unbeaten Ireland.

"I've watched many recent games as a fan. Italy’s consistent performance is a testament to the quality of the team and staff. The physical preparation and technological support available to today’s players are impressive. This professional environment provides young players with enormous opportunities, far beyond what was available in my playing days."

Returning to the European Stage

Marcato, who played in the Guinness Men's Six Nations in 2008 and 2009, recalls the unforgettable atmosphere, especially that game-winning drop goal against Scotland. "The Six Nations was the pinnacle of my rugby career. Playing in such stadiums and atmospheres was an unforgettable experience. It’s incredible to see the support and excitement surrounding the games - something we rarely saw in Italy."

As he prepares to guide the next generation of Italian rugby talent, Marcato brings with him a legacy of success, a wealth of experience, and a passion for the sport that promises to inspire and develop young players.