SCRUM-HALF Stephen Varney, who’s a former pupil at Ysgol y Preseli in Crymych, has been named in Italy’s beginning aspect to face England within the Guinness Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.
Initially from Rhoshill, close to Cardigan, he gained the Welsh Colleges U16s Cup for Ysgol y Preseli in 2017, and got here via the junior ranks Crymych RFC, earlier than turning into an expert participant.
The Welsh-speaking 19 year-old, who’s the son of former Neath and Aberavon flanker Adrian Varney, has stored his place within the aspect that misplaced to France of their opener in Rome final weekend.
Like him, his mom was additionally born in west Wales, however each of her mother and father have been born in Italy, therefore his eligibility to play for the Azzurri – and he has seized the possibility on the worldwide stage.
He had a few outings for Scarlets West U16s, however wasn’t chosen to be a part of their pathway, and he took the chance to review sports activities science at Hartpury School, in Gloucestershire.
He was then supplied a spot with the Gloucester RFC Academy, the place he caught the eye of the Italian Rugby Federation, and he duly took the possibility to play for the Azzurri at age group degree.
Varney – whose center title is Lorenzo – had caught the attention of rugby supporters in Wales when he scored two tries off the bench for Italy’s Below-18s, enjoying in opposition to their Welsh counterparts.
Then final 12 months he impressed once more in opposition to Wales as he produced a man-of-the-match efficiency within the Azzurri’s 17-7 victory within the Below 20s Six Nations at Colwyn Bay, in January 2020.
A call-up to the senior squad for the autumn’s worldwide marketing campaign adopted, just for him to be struck down by Covid-19 – however having absolutely recovered, he then made his Check debut as a substitute in opposition to Scotland in Florence.
One other look as a sub got here in opposition to France – when Welsh referee Nigel Owens gave him directions in Welsh – and this was adopted by a dream first begin for Italy in opposition to the land of his delivery, Wales, within the remaining match of the Nations Cup in Llanelli.
Making his senior Six Nations Event debut in opposition to France final weekend, he confirmed expertise and composure behind a pack that was going backwards, and he was shiny, clever and full of life across the fringes, regardless of Italy shedding the match closely 10-50.
In one of many highlights, Varney thought he had put Monty Ioane away after an outrageous double-dummy break – the second dummy purchased by France’s man of the match Antione Dupont – just for the cross to be deemed ahead.
Subsequent up, he’ll enjoying in opposition to England’s 105-cap Ben Youngs on Saturday – and the younger Gloucester scrum-half, who was born and bred in West Wales, would be the one to look at for Italy.