Bury St Edmunds fans will get their first chance to see the host of new signings in action at The GK IPA Haberden tomorrow — and one of the new Italians is desperate to make the number two shirt his own.
Federico Silverstri is one of a trio of players who have made the trip across from The Azzurri to Suffolk this summer.
He has played as a prop at under-17 and under-18 level for his country but can also play as a hooker and an openside flanker.
He commonly plays as a hooker, where he played for Reggio in the Italian Super 10 top flight last season, and wants to jump into first team action right away.
Ahead of the Woolpack’s first home game of their pre-season campaign, with former head coach Gavin Hogg’s Old Albanians side visiting tomorrow (3pm), Silvestri said: “I did not see last season but I am here now and ready to claim the shirt.
“I need to do my work and train hard and play better. I am really looking forward to it.
“Hooker is definitely my position now, as it is better for me.”
The 24-year-old has had to adapt to a massive culture change since arriving in England at the end of June, but already has chemistry on the pitch with former team-mate, and fellow new signing, Daniele Greco, who plays prop.
“I knew Daniele before and played with him four seasons ago now in Piacenza.
“Last season I played in Italy and my friends, including Daniele Greco, said there was a possibility of going to an English club and trying a new life experience. So, I thought, why not.
“It is the first time I have come outside Italy to play rugby.”
Silvestri is one of 12 new signings at the club after a busy off-season which has seen former Leicester Tigers player Ollie Smith, previously a coach in the Championship with Esher, replace ex-Northampton Saints player Jon Clarke, who had to leave for family reasons before overseeing a competitive game.
But, despite the hectic period, the former Reggio player has revealed he has been impressed with the set-up and level of training carried out at the club, saying it is better than he experienced in Italy’s top flight.
“All the training here is quicker and higher-intensity,” he said. “All the club people here have been very good.”