Zebre

Last updated
Zebre
Zebre Rugby logo.svg
Union Italian Rugby Federation
Nickname(s)The XV of the North-West («il XV del Nord-Ovest»)
Founded1973 (as Invitational Team – disbanded in 1997)
2012;9 years ago (2012)(as Professional Team)
Location Parma, Italy
Ground(s) Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma (Capacity: 5,000)
PresidentAndrea Dalledonne
Coach(es) Michael Bradley
Captain(s) Tommaso Castello
League(s) Pro14
2020–21 6th (Conference A)
Rainbow Cup
12th
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1st kit
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2nd kit
Official website
www.zebrerugbyclub.it

Zebre (Italian pronunciation:  [ˈdzɛbre] , meaning "Zebras"), are an Italian professional rugby union team competing in the Pro14 and EPCR competitions from the 2012–13 season. [1] They are based in Parma (Emilia-Romagna), Italy. They are operated by the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) and replaced Aironi in the Pro12. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Contents

Zebre, often referred to as "the XV of the North-West" (Italian : il XV del Nord-Ovest), represents the four committees of Emilia-Romagna, Liguria, Lombardy and Piedmont, which includes tens of thousands of members and several clubs. [7] Since 2018, it represents also teams from others committees like Abruzzo, Lazio, Marche, Tuscany and Sicily. [8]

History

The entry of Italian teams into the Celtic League had been proposed for many years. After several failed attempts, there was hope that a deal for Italian entry would be done in time for the 2010–11 season, with the Scots delaying support for entry until changes were made to the Celtic League management structure. In February 2010, it was announced that the planned expansion of the Celtic League was to be put on hold. The reasons were the insistence by existing members that the Italian teams could be ejected after three years. Also, the financial demands that the league placed on the Italians could not be met. The existing teams said this was to cover the need to have larger squads to cover the extra fixtures and additional travel expenses. [9] Agreement was reached in early March 2010 to allow Italian teams entry to the Celtic League in time for the 2010–11 season. [10] The clubs will also be guaranteed places in the annual Heineken Cup, which had previously been awarded to the two top teams in the National Championship of Excellence.

Italy have failed to make an impact in the Six Nations Championship since joining in 2000. This has largely been blamed on the fact their best players do not have a competitive enough domestic tournament or are forced to play abroad. The fact that the Six Nations decider in 2009 between Wales and Ireland featured 42 Celtic League players out of 44 in their squads supported this notion. [11]

After initial applications in 2010, it was proposed that Aironi would join along with a new team, Praetorians Roma, [12] but Benetton Treviso were nominated instead. Benetton Treviso and Duchi Nord-Ovest could not agree to form one club to represent the Veneto region and lost out in the first round of bidding despite the region being the traditional home of Italian rugby. [13] However, Pretorians Roma failed to satisfy the evaluators of their financial muscle and Benetton Treviso were nominated in their place. [14]

Aironi struggled in their first season; a surprise European Cup win over Biarritz was the only highlight of a campaign in which they managed only one Pro12 victory. At the end of a second season of struggle on the pitch, Aironi succumbed to financial difficulties off it. Their licence to play both in the European Cup and Pro12 was revoked by the Italian Rugby Federation. [15] The Federation decided against another domestic Italian club taking over the running of the licence, instead opting to maintain complete control of a planned new franchise. [16] In June 2012, it was announced that the new franchise would be known as Zebre and based in Parma. [17]

Zebre did not enjoy much success in their first season, 2012–13, finishing bottom after winless campaigns in both the Pro12 and the Heineken Cup. Although they finished the subsequent 2013-14 season bottom once again, their performance was much improved, seeing their first victory against Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park into Round 3 of Pro12, [18] in a season in which they had five league victories, with their away win in Cardiff followed by home victories against the Ospreys, Edinburgh, Cardiff Blues and Italian Rivals Treviso, who finished the season a single point ahead of Zebre. They fared somewhat worse in 2014-15, managing only 3 victories and finishing bottom of the table for the third season running. In the 2015-16 seasons they again earned five victories including back to back victories against Treviso and a bonus-point victory against the Newport Gwent Dragons. Zebre avoided finishing in last place for the first time.

Honours

Current standings

2020–21 Pro14 Table view · watch · edit · discuss
Conference A
TeamPWDLPFPAPDTFTATBPLBPPTS
1 IRFU flag.svg Leinster (CH)161402576285+291823314171
2 IRFU flag.svg Ulster 161402469263+20665348064
3 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Ospreys 16808301318-1734391336
4 Flag of Scotland.svg Glasgow Warriors 166010335377-4240472430
5 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Dragons 166010215394-7936502329
6 Flag of Italy.svg Zebre 164012237508-27122690117
Conference B
TeamPWDLPFPAPDTFTATBPLBPPTS
1 IRFU flag.svg Munster (RU)161402413250+16349267264
2 IRFU flag.svg Connacht 16808396353+4353367645
3 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Scarlets 16808319333-1436383439
4 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Cardiff Blues 16808265284-1930323136
5 Flag of Scotland.svg Edinburgh 165110247344-9729431429*
6 Flag of Italy.svg Benetton 160115252415-1643453167*
* Cancelled fixture: Edinburgh awarded four match points.
If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order: [19]
  1. number of matches won
  2. the difference between points for and points against
  3. the number of tries scored
  4. the most points scored
  5. the difference between tries for and tries against
  6. the fewest red cards received
  7. the fewest yellow cards received
Green background indicates teams that will compete in the Pro14 Final, and also earn a place in the 2021–22 European Champions Cup

Blue background indicates teams outside the play-off places that earn a place in the 2021–22 European Champions Cup
Plain background indicates teams that earn a place in the 2021–22 European Rugby Challenge Cup.
(CH) Champions. (RU) Runners-up. (PO) Champions Cup play-off winners.

    The team

    Name history

    Founded in 1973 by the former Italian national captain Marco Bollesan, Zebre (English: Zebras) was chosen, in 2012, by the Italian Rugby Federation as the new franchise's name. The name had been used by an invitational select rugby union team based in Northwest Italy that played regular fixtures between 1973 and 1997. In those 23 years, 25 matches were held against international clubs; and resulted in a high number of victories for Zebre. The opening match was an unofficial test played in Milan in 1973 against the Australian team of Randwick Sydney, who won 21–50. Zebre had a memorable 48–38 victory against the Barbarians in Brescia in June 1997. [20]

    Two other former select teams are Dogi (The Doges) based in Triveneto and I Lupi (The Wolves) based in Central and Southern Italy. [21]

    Stadium and training

    The team play in Parma at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, the former home ground of Crociati Parma and the F.I.R. Academy. Initially, the ground is being refurbished and expanded. Zebre usually hold their summer training camp at Parma University. [22] In its history, Zebre played also official matches in others different homegrounds:
    - In the 2012–13 Pro12 season at Reggio Emilia's Stadio Città del Tricolore, against Leinster; [23]
    - In the 2017–18 Pro14 season at Stadio Tommaso Fattori of L'Aquila, Abruzzo, against Dragons; [24]
    - In the 2018–19 Pro14 season at Stadio Luigi Zaffanella of Viadana, Lombardy, against Leinster [25]
    - In the 2019–20 European Rugby Challenge Cup season at Stadio San Michele of Calvisano, Lombardy, against Brive [26]
    - In the 2019–20 Pro14 season at Stadio Giovanni Mari of Legnano, Lombardy, against Munster; [27]

    Staff and coaching team

    The staff for the 2020–21 Pro14 season is: [28]

    Players

    Zebre is mostly based on Italian players, rather than foreigners. [29] In 2012, of the initial list of 36 contracted players, only three were ineligible to play for Italy. Nineteen former Aironi players were included in the original squad. An emphasis on youth development was also visible, with a significant portion of the squad being made up of members of F.I.R. Academy Ivan Francescato . [22]

    Current squad

    Zebre United Rugby Championship squad [lower-alpha 1]

    Props

    Hookers

    Locks

    Back row

    Scrum-halves

    Fly-halves

    Centres

    Wings

    Fullbacks

    (c) denotes the team captain, Bold denotes internationally capped players.
    * denotes players qualified to play for Italy on residency or dual nationality.
    Players and their allocated positions from the Zebre website. [30]
    1. Taking into account signings and departures head of 2021–22 season as listed on List of 2021–22 United Rugby Championship transfers.

    Permit player squad

    Zebre Permit Players squad

    Props

    • None currently named

    Hookers

    • None currently named

    Locks

    • None currently named

    Back row

    • None currently named

    Scrum-halves

    • None currently named

    Fly-halves

    • None currently named

    Centres

    • None currently named

    Wings

    • None currently named

    Fullbacks

    • None currently named
    (c) denotes the team captain, Bold denotes internationally capped players.
    * denotes players qualified to play for Italy on residency or dual nationality.
    Players and their allocated positions from the Zebre Rugby website.

      Selected former players

      Former players who have played for Zebre and have caps for their respective country

      Season records

      Pro12

      SeasonPosPlayedWonDrawnLostBonusPoints
      2012–13 12th2200221010
      2013–14 12th225215529
      2014–15 12th223019315
      2015–16 11th225017424
      2016–17 12th223019719

      Pro14

      SeasonConferencePosPlayedWonDrawnLostBonusPoints
      2017–18 Conference A7th217014836
      2018–19 Conference A7th213018719
      2019–20 Conference A6th153111721

      European Rugby Challenge Cup

      SeasonPool/RoundPosPlayedWonDrawnLostBonusPoints
      2014–15 Pool 53rd620408
      2015–16 Pool 42nd6303113
      2017–18 Pool 33rd610548
      2018–19 Pool 43rd6303214
      2019–20 Pool000000

      Heineken Cup / European Rugby Champions Cup

      SeasonPool/RoundPosPlayedWonDrawnLostBonusPoints
      2012–13 Pool 34th600611
      2013–14 Pool 34th600600
      2016–17 Pool 24th600600

      Personnel honours and records

      (correct as of 11 June 2021)

      Bold indicates active player

      CategoryPlayerTotal
      Tries Dries Van Schalkwyk 24
      Appearances Guglielmo Palazzani 145
      Points Carlo Canna 666