Martina Busana
The women’s game in Italy has received a significant boost.

The recent announcement that two new franchises would run in parallel to the Benetton and Zebre Parma men’s teams has been warmly welcomed across the country, and hailed as “a precious opportunity to improve women's rugby”.

The new project will involve the best Italian players from its top-two elite leagues: 65 of them selected from 15 clubs, plus one additional overseas player.

Getting underway at the beginning of 2024, the project is closely linked to the ambitions of the national team, as led by Giovanni Ranieri, whose assistant coaches

Italian women's rugby, and consequently its national team, are growing with the birth of an interesting new project, launched in recent weeks and which will get underway effectively in the first months of the new year: that of two franchises for women's rugby along the lines of what has been happening for over a decade in men's rugby.

Thus, the Benetton Rugby and Zebre Parma selections for women are born, which will involve the best Italian athletes from the elite and Serie A championships, for a total of 65 girls and 15 Italian clubs, plus one foreigner.

The project will be closely linked to the national team, as led by Giovanni Raineri. His assistant coaches, Plinio Sciamanna (scrum) and Francesco Iannucci (defence) will be at the helm of Zebre and Benetton respectively.

The teams’ first outing is scheduled for January 7 in Spain, while on February 10 fixtures will be held at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma and Stadio Monigo in Treviso.

Giuliana Campanella is the coordinator of the new project, as well as being the team manager of the national side. "The birth of the women's franchises is an important moment for the whole movement, and a great opportunity to be seized first of all for the greater growth of our athletes and the national team,” said Campanella. “This is a precious opportunity to improve women's rugby in terms of quality across the technical spectrum. “Players, coaches and trainers, managers, and everyone involved in the project will be able to measure themselves in an international environment, generating and consolidating those skills and attitudes that are now more necessary than ever in women's rugby.

“I am certain that this will be the beginning of a new path for the whole of Italian rugby'.

Zebre Parma (Coach: Plinio Sciamanna)

Ilaria Alonzi (Roma Rugby), Anna Carnevali (Rugby Colorno), Alice Cassaghi (Cus Milano), Sofia Catellani (Rugby Colorno), Giulia Cavina (Cus Milano), Chiara Cheli (Rugby Colorno), Angelica Cittadini (Unione Capitolina), Giada Corradini (Rugby Colorno), Giorgia Cuoghi (Highlanders Formigine), Sara D'Andrea (Lupi Frascati), Gaia Dosi (Rugby Colorno), Elena Errichiello (Unione Capitolina), Melania Galleani (Cus Milano), Francesca Granzotto (Unione Capitolina), Rubina Emma Grassi (Toulon), Alessia Gronda (Cus Torino), Mascia Jelic (Rugby Colorno), Isabella Locatelli (Rugby Colorno), Antonella Maione (Neapolis Campania Felix), Sara Mannini (Rugby Colorno), Nicole Mastrangelo (Unione Capitolina), Lucie Moioli (I Centurioni Rugby), Sara Negroni (Unione Capitolina), Laura Paganini (Cus Milano), Alessia Pilani (Rugby Colorno), Mihaela Pirpiliu (Rugby Rovato), Alissa Ranuccini (Rugby Colorno), Maria Nicole Ruggio (Rugby Colorno), Luna Agatha Sacchi (Cus Torino), Desiree Spinelli (Le Puma Bisenzio), Arianna Toeschi (Cus Torino), Lavinia Tonna (Lupi Frascati).

Benetton Rugby (Coach: Francesco Iannucci)

Martina Busana (Villorba Rugby), Erika Campigotto (Benetton Treviso), Beatrice Capomaggi (Villorba Rugby), Micol Cavina (Villorba Rugby), Francesca Celli (Benetton Treviso), Matilde Cheval (Valsugana Padova), Elettra Costantini (Valsugana Padova), Rebecca Crivellaro (Villorba Rugby), Alyssa D'Incà (Villorba Rugby), Alessia Della Sala (Rebels Rugby Vicenza), Giordana Duca (Valsugana Padova), Alice Fortuna (Rebels Rugby Vicenza), Alessia Franco (Benetton Treviso), Alessandra Frangipani (Villorba Rugby), Sofia Giacomini (Benetton Treviso), Elisa Giordano (Valsugana Padova), Laura Gurioli (Villorba Rugby), Maria Magatti (Benetton Treviso), Alessia Margotti (Valsugana Padova), Aura Muzzo (Villorba Rugby), Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi (Valsugana Padova), Aregash Pellizzon (Benetton Treviso), Michela Sillari (Valsugana Padova), Gaia Simeon (Villorba Rugby), Emanuela Stecca (Villorba Rugby), Sofia Stefan (Valsugana Padova), Emma Stevanin (Valsugana Padova), Emma Tognon (Benetton Treviso), Margherita Tonellotto (Valsugana Padova), Vittoria Vecchini (Valsugana Padova), Beatrice Veronese (Valsugana Padova), Gaia Vigolo (Valsugana Padova), Alice Visman (Valsugana Padova).