32-year-old international lock Marco Bortolami will skipper the new Italian franchise team Zebre in the RaboDirect and Heineken Cup 2012/13 season, the new Parma-based team announced today.
The Padova-born lock, who won 94 caps for Italy since 2001 skippering the Azzurri 38 times, captained all the teams he played for, leading in his career Petrarca Padova, Narbonne, Gloucester (reaching the Premiership final as captain of the cherry and whites) and Aironi in the last season.
"It was pretty obvious to name Marco as team captain" Zebre director of rugby and acting CEO Roberto Manghi said.
"Marco has shown to be a natural leader over his career and his experience will be crucial for a young team such as ours. He will be a reference point both for coaching staff and for young players who are part of our roster and we're sure he will be extremely important even in the first part of the season, when he will be sidelined and recovering from a left-shoulder injury".
"It is a great opportunity and a privilege to skipper a new team and bring my experience to many new emerging young guys" Marco Bortolami said today in Glasgow, attending the RaboDirect PRO12 launch.
"I want to thank the coaching staff for appointing me as captain, it is a new start for all of us and we will make great effort to play our best rugby and to take the opportunities we will have during the season. I'll do my best to lead the team and be as close as possible to my team-mates while recovering from my injury and I hope to be back on the field later in November".