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Recent Italy recruit Paolo Odogwu has named his new club

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by PA)

Recent Italy recruit Paolo Odogwu has named Benetton as his new club following the conclusion of his short-term deal with Stade Francais. The centre/winger headed to France following last October’s collapse of Gallagher Premiership club Wasps and he made 12 appearances for the Parisians.


However, following their play-off elimination by Racing 92 earlier this month, Odogwu was named as one of the 13 players who would be leaving and it has now been confirmed by Benetton that he will join them for their 2023/24 URC/Challenge Cup campaign and possibly longer.

It was May when Odogwu, who spent the entire 2021 Guinness Six Nations in camp with England without getting a debut Test cap, was named by Kieran Crowley in the Italy squad to prepare for the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

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The 26-year-old Coventry-born wing, who is of Nigerian and Italian descent, had been capped by England at age-grade level but now very much wants to represent Italy

His switch to Benetton will surely bolster his selection chances in a club line-up that includes fellow ex-Wasps players in the guise of Jacob Umaga, Marcus Watson, Matteo Minozzi and Malakai Fekitoa.

A statement read: “Benetton are happy to announce the signing of Paolo Odogwu until June 30, 2024, with an option for another season. He is a utility back capable of playing both centre and wing positions.

“It’s a profile that guarantees disruptive physicality in the open field, as well as consistent speed and excellent technical qualities. Odogwu is one of the most interesting talents on an international level and already has a wealth of experience at club level.


“Called up in recent weeks to be part of the Italian group in view of the 2023 World Cup which will start in September in France, Odogwu started playing rugby at schools level, spending his youth years at Leicester Tigers before signing for Sale Sharks following his release in the summer of 2016. In 2019 he signed for Wasps.”

Odogwu said: “The main reason that prompted me to join Benetton is the opportunity to test myself in a new environment and in a new league with a team that is growing very well.

“Also, it’s really exciting to have the chance to reunite with some old friends like Umaga, Watson, Minozzi and Fekitoa. After reaching the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup last season, the standard is set high.

“We are a team built to go beyond the regular season in both competitions. Also, at this point in my career, it’s very important for me to have the chance to play in Treviso and potentially represent my country at the same time.


“After what happened with Wasps, I can’t wait to settle down and start a new season without the fear that something like this could happen again.”

Antonio Pavanello, the Benetton general manager, added: “The talks with Paolo had been going on for some time and when the opportunity presented itself, together with FIR which supported the player’s involvement for the purpose of his participation in international activity, we tried to seize it by finding an agreement for the next seasons.

“Odogwu is a flexible player capable of covering both the role of centre and wing, especially in the latter. It was our desire to insert an Italian profile capable of bringing greater explosiveness and physicality.

“We can therefore say that with the addition of Paolo’s characteristics, in the roles in question, we have a range of profiles with different qualities that during the season will allow us to implement various solutions and satisfy different needs.”


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1 Comment
The Chassis Chisler 390 days ago

So excited to see this backline in action

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