Italian Women’s Rugby has a new ambassador the Colorno flanker from Naples Giada Franco.
Colorno (Parmigiano: Colórni) is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Parma in the Italian region Emilia-Romagna, located about 90 kilometres (56 mi) northwest of Bologna and about 15 kilometres (9 mi) north of Parma.
One of the first names on the Italy team sheet, the former Harlequins Ladies star begins a technical journey in support of women’s rugby in the Emilia region. The “Leonessa di Colorno”, a nickname derived from her determination and those luscious locks , officially becomes part of the tutoring project that the Via Pertini club is undertaking with the small women’s teams in the area.
Giada now occupies a place amongst the best players in Europe, as demonstrated by the four Player of the Match awards with Italdonne. The 24-year-old with 15 caps in the women’s national team told the Rugby Colorno website us about her story so far, her love for rugby and her recent role as ambassador of the women’s rugby development project.
There are strong links with her club in the Midlands as Leicester Tigers partnered with the Italian outfit in December 2018.
Colorno’s Men’s first team currently play in the second tier of Italian rugby union, whilst the Women’s team are Italy’s current reigning champions of the sport.
Founded in 1975, the club has progressed year on year thanks to a strong community development programme and projects with local schools.
Eight members of the Rugby Colorno Women’s team were also involved in the Italian national squad who finished second to England in the 2019 Women’s Six Nations, and the club fields 10 teams from the under-6 age group up to senior Men’s and Women teams.
Giada made a lot of friends and captured a lot of hearts during her brief time in England, her smiling face is greatly missed.
Here is the interview translated from Italian
Giada, where did your love for rugby come from?
“It started with school through a project I participated in during high school. I have always practiced other sports but when I got to know rugby I got passionate and I never stopped ”.
Did you have had any problems during your rugby journey? What has always kept the passion burning in you?
“The problems were essentially logistical in nature, as I had to move immediately from Salerno to Benevento and then to Colorno. The love for sport has always accompanied me in my life and kept the passion alive. ”
You had your first experience away from home in Colorno, tell us how you lived it.
“I moved here to Colorno with Maria Grazia Cioffi, a teammate and friend I met in Benevento, with her by my side I faced everything in a calm and peaceful way. Today I consider Colorno a second home, a big family in which I was very well received. ”
In 2018 the first blue call arrives, what memories do you have of the first meeting?
“I remember the anxiety and the nervousness, I was quite worried but at the same time I wanted to win a cap. Fortunately, there is a fantastic group in the national team too so I had no problems integrating into the team. ”
And the first game? The sensations of the first time with Italdonne.
“Pure anxiety, an indescribable emotion. Since I started playing rugby my dream has always been to wear the national team jersey and be able to proudly represent our country ”.
2018 was a very important year for you, the one in which the first historic Scudetto with the Red Furies of Rugby Colorno arrives in May.
“We were playing the second consecutive final, the year before we had lost precisely to Valsugana and the victory of the Scudetto symbolized our revenge, a revenge that came after a great journey with Cristian Prestera. We had worked and worked hard, we were a great group and that championship was the crowning glory of a perfect season. ”
Last year the experience in England with Harlequins Ladies, tell us how things went.
“It was a fantastic experience, in England I experienced a totally different way of seeing rugby, especially women’s rugby. In addition to the very high level of play, there is a great organization behind the championship, structured to perfection and very competitive … Then the Harlequins are a fantastic club. I’m sorry that this experience ended prematurely because of the covid. ”
Are you happy to be back in Colorno? Tell us what ties you to the women’s rugby development project.
“I am very happy to be back in Colorno where I found a large part of the team. I have an excellent relationship with Pliny, Mariagrazia and Davide, they push us to always give the best. From this season with Plinio we will support the teams under the tutoring of Rugby Colorno, namely Amatori Parma, Formigine, Carpi and Piacenza, in the hope of helping them to grow. The goal would be to make these girls debut one day with the Red Furies shirt. ”
Do you want to say hello to all the young rugby players who follow you?
“Hello everyone, we hope to see you soon on the pitch”.