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Italy would be 'crazy' to ignore Odogwu says Blackett

By Chris Jones
Paolo Odogwu (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

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Wasps boss Lee Blackett believes Italy would be “crazy” not to offer in-form Paolo Odogwu the chance to play international rugby.

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Odogwu has made a major impact with ball in hand for Wasps this season including a brilliant display of try-scoring power running in the win over Bath and he qualifies for Italy through his father. Odogwu was born in Coventry and has been capped by England at U20 level and arrived at Wasps via Sale who must now be questioning their decision to let him go. Odogwu has made 361 metres with the ball more ground than any other Premiership player this season.

Odogwu, 23, is seen by Blackett as an outside centre although he has made his mark on the wing in recent seasons and the Wasps director of rugby said,” Italy have been aware of Paulo for a while and they would be pretty crazy if they have seen his performance at the weekend and not be making contact.

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“I fully expect conversations to happen now and it would be exciting for him. He has a big x-factor and maybe on the wing have not seen that enough and if you at him at 13 his attack is x-factor. He is also a good defender and good over the ball and has more to his game than pace.

“The way he can impose himself on a game is with ball in hand and taking people on and has built his confidence. When he has moved back to the wing he has been looking for the ball and we have moved him into certain positions from set-pieces because we are trying to use him as much as possible.”

Blackett does expect the European games to go ahead this weekend and is predicting that Premiership matches will be moved to fill those dates with the Heineken and Challenge Cup games rearranged for later in the season.

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