Zebre Rugby Club is pleased to announce the return of international rugby to the Zaffanella Stadium in Viadana after seven years. On February 16 the Guinness PRO14 will make its comeback at the home of Rugby Viadana 1970 to host the prestigious challenge between the Zebre Rugby Club and the Irish side of Leinster in Round 15.
The challenge between the bianconeri and the reigning champions of the Guinness PRO14 and the Champions Cup will be followed by the Italian TOP12 Championship clash between the hosts Rugby Viadana 1970 and Rugby Mogliano, in one special rugby event. For the first time ever in Italy, the same matchday will see the two tournaments hosted on the same field. It will start at 15:30 with the Michael Bradley’s side who will challenge Leo Cullen’s men from Ireland.
Following at 6pm coach Filippo Frati’s black & yellow Lions will challenge Mogliano Rugby on the Fourth Round of the Italian TOP12 Championship. With a single ticket, everyone can watch the two games of Zebre and Rugby Viadana 1970. Tickets can be purchased in advance very soon at the Ciaotickets ticket vendor, online and in stores throughout the country.
It will be the third time that the Zebre – the FIR-owned franchise based in Parma 30 kilometres from Viadana – will play away from the Lanfranchi Stadium, the second time against the Irish franchise of the Leinster.
The Stadio Città del Tricolore in Reggio Emilia was the scene in April 2013 of the challenge against the Irish side, with the aim of raising funds for the earthquake victims of Emilia. While on April 14 2018 the encounter against the Welsh Dragons was organized together with L’Aquila Rugby Club at the Fattori Stadium in the Abruzzo capital city.
Andrea Dalledonne, Zebre CEO said: “As a federal franchise, we believe it is our precise task to bring rugby at the highest level in the most passionate places in Italy, thus extending the offer of high-level rugby in addition to the Guinness Six Nations and other Italian national teams. Our goal is to introduce the Guinness PRO14 tournament and the great potential of the public, of interest and of attractiveness for the sponsors that can come from these initiatives.
“Several others will follow after careful analysis together with the Italian Rugby Union and the Guinness PRO14 in this and the next seasons. The tournament board has been enthusiastic about this innovation and it’s supporting us in this direction.”
The Zaffanella Stadium is one of the five Italian venues to have hosted official games of the Guinness PRO14 along with Treviso, Reggio Emilia, L’Aquila and Parma. For two seasons from 2010 to 2012, the Celtic League saw the Aironi Rugby – the first franchise to defend the Italian colours in the international tournament together with Benetton Rugby – play their own home games in front of the stadium named to the former captain of the Rugby Viadana from the ’70s and’ 80s.
From September 11 2010 to 2012, there were 22 challenges played in Viadana where the black & silver Herons defeated Edinburgh, Benetton, and Connacht twice. The international rugby then returns to Viadana after the positive experience of the World Rugby U20 Championship in 2015 that saw the city of Mantua province on the banks of the river Po chosen by the Italian Rugby Union as one of the three venues of the Pool stages together with Calvisano (BS) and Parma.