Despite this being a busy time of year for both alumni and current students being engaged in either age-group or test match rugby, it’s very rare to be able to report that a current Hartpury student has won a full international cap.
But that’s exactly the honour received by Sports Business Management undergraduate Sebastian Negri who, in a whirlwind summer, celebrated his recall to the Italian A squad quite recently before the strength of his performances against both Argentina A and Uruguay earned him a spot as an injury replacement for the full national side on their tour of North America.
Having been named on the bench for last weekend’s test match against US Eagles, his elevation was complete as another injury struck down team-mate Maxime Mbanda.
Sebastian, who came to Hartpury from Hilton College in South Africa, via a season with the Western Province Academy based in Cape Town, headed into his international summer on the back of a rollercoaster 2015-16 campaign. Having won the BUCS (University Centre) first team player of the season award in 2015 and featured for Gloucester in the A League, Sebastian was named as captain of that team for the 2015-16 campaign.
However, a serious injury in an early fixture against Exeter University left him needing surgery on a torn and ruptured pectoral, cutting short his season. The recent representative clashes have been his first since returning from that injury.
Hartpury Director of Rugby, John Barnes, said: “It’s an incredible achievement to be capped for your country and everyone at Hartpury is chuffed to bits for Seb, who richly deserved this opportunity.
“Hartpury has produced more than 100 rugby internationals over the years in various age groups and at various levels and Seb is our first full Italy cap. It’s incredible that he’s had this opportunity while he’s still a student and only a month after his call-up for Italy A following an injury-hit season.
“He has clearly impressed Conor O’Shea and the rest of the Italy coaching set-up. We’re all looking forward to seeing him push on with his international career and for Hartpury next season.”