Zebre informed 24-year-old centre Alberto Chiesa joined the new italian franchise team from Estra I Cavalieri Prato ahead of 2012/13 season.
Born in Livorno, Chiesa was part of the first selection of players – all born in 1988 – who attended the newly born Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) U19 “Ivan Francescato” Academy since 2007. Chiesa, who played for Livorno Rugby in his first years before moving to I Cavalieri Prato, was part of Italy youth teams since U17, skippering Italy U19 to the age-grade Pool B World Cup title in 2007 in Belfast.
He kept the captaincy even the following year with the Italy U20 team, leaving Prato to play Super 10 rugby with Rome’s UR Capitolina and being selected for Italy 2008/2009 summer training camp.
He came back to Prato after one season with Capitolina and, since then, was part of Italy “A” and Italy Emerging sides, collecting appearances with Italy 7s as well. Despite he played as inside centre the most of his career, Chiesa can also play as fly-half, position he took in the last IRB Nations Cup in Bucharest. In the last season, Alberto skippered I Cavalieri both in Amlin Challenge and in Eccellenza championship, reaching the final series of the top italian championship where Cavalieri was defeated by Calvisano.
“We’re extremely confident in Alberto’s skills – Zebre’s director of rugby Roberto Manghi said – and we’re sure he will perform at his best both in Rabodirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup. He’s a skilled player and a potential leader, a very interesting centre that can also represent a back-up as a fly-half, as he showed last summer in Bucharest with Italy Emerging team. We’re happy to welcome him on board ahead of our first season”.
“Being aged 24, I’ve a great chance to prove myself at the highest level – Chiesa said – and to give my contribution to such an important project for the whole italian rugby. It was not an easy choice to leave I Cavalieri, a club I’m very grateful to and who helped me in my growth as a man and as a player. I know it will be tough to deserve a spot in the line-up but I’ll work hard to deserve it and I’m happy to join at the Zebre many team-mates I’ve already played with in the past”.
Honours: Italy “A”, Italy Emerging, Italy U20, Italy U19, Italy U18, FIR National Academy
Rabodirect PRO12 appearances: –
Heineken Cup appearances: –
Amlin Challenge Cup appearances: 9
Previous Clubs: Estra I Cavalieri Prato, UR Capitolina, Livorno Rugby