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'Adapting' Hidalgo-Clyne checks in at seventh club in four years

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

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Well-travelled Scotland scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne has revealed first impressions of his new life in Italy, the soon-to-be 29-year-old explaining that the heat has been his biggest obstacle so far since joining Benetton. Last capped in December 2020, the half-back is preparing to play for his seventh club in four years in five different countries.

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Hidalgo-Clyne spent five seasons at Edinburgh making a name for himself but he has since adopted a ‘have boots, will travel’ attitude that has taken him from club rugby in Scotland to Wales and on to two separate stints in England and another two in France.

Scarlets was his first port of call followed by Harlequins, Racing, Lyon and Exeter and it was last February when it was confirmed that he would be exiting the Chiefs – whom he debuted for in August 2020 – to take up a three-year deal at Benetton.

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Rugby Explorer | Italy
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Rugby Explorer | Italy

Hidalgo-Clyne is now into the second week of his latest adventure and has shared his initial thoughts about the set-up at Benetton ahead of a URC season that will begin on September 17 with a home match in Treviso against Glasgow Warriors, who announced on Tuesday that ex-Italy boss Franco Smith will succeed Danny Wilson as their head coach.

“These first few weeks are very good and I’m trying to get to know the city well,” explained Hildago-Clyne about his settling-in period at Benetton. “The group of teammates welcomed me and immediately are making me feel a special closeness, so I’m settling in very well.

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“Clearly there were fewer players (training) in the first week, but since this Monday all the players from the national team are back. I’m having fun, even though it’s very hot here in Treviso and I’m trying to adapt to the climate. My main goal is to bring my experience accumulated in recent years to the team, helping the younger players.

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“We are an ambitious and talented team. I want to contribute by pushing the team towards the established goals. I try to offer a fast game, I also like foot play. Being quick and looking for empty corners of the pitch with my foot, putting pressure on the opponents. So do the simple things well and try to play instinctively as much as possible.”

Hidalgo-Clyne arrived at Benetton having previously worked with a pair of their new coaches. “I already knew two coaches,” he added. “I’m talking about Callum McRae, the defence coach. I worked with him for a couple of years in Edinburgh. And Julian Salvi, the breakdown coach, who has known me since Exeter.”

He also already knew Tiziano PasqualiIi having attended Merchiston Castle School with the Italian prop as a teenager. “I already knew Tiziano, who is helping me to join the group and in these first weeks he accompanied me to see new places in the city, together with other Benetton guys.”

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