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Silvia Turani: 'Premiership Women's Rugby a big opportunity for Italy'

By Martyn Thomas
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 15: Silvia Turani of Italy poses for a photograph during the 2023 TikTok Women's Six Nations Media Launch at Studio Spaces on March 15, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Italy prop Silvia Turani is looking forward to welcoming more of her international team-mates to the Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby (PWR) next season.

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Having spent last term in Devon with Exeter Chiefs, helping the club to a second successive league final, it was confirmed on 21 July that Turani will move to Harlequins Women ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.

News of the switch came on the eve of Italy’s WXV play-off victory against Spain at Stadio Walter Beltrametti last Saturday, a match in which she lined up alongside Beatrice Rigoni and Sara Tounesi, who will be team-mates at Sale Sharks this year.

That trio will be joined in the PWR by international prop Sara Seye, who has signed for Ealing Trailfinders Women ahead of their debut campaign.

“We are aware that playing abroad can be really challenging and a way to develop our rugby,” Turani said.

“Of course, you want people to stay in Italy as well because we have a league in Italy, and you want to have good Italian players in Italy. But I think right now, being abroad is just a big opportunity for us.

“It will be really interesting for me also playing against other Italians. It’s always nice for me when I face some other Italians and even more that some of them are props so it will be interesting in the scrum, seeing each other. And then also if you have a day off, you know that you can meet some other Italians.

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“Of course, it’s always interesting when you try something new. I guess when you’re living a new experience you grow as a person, as a player. And that’s what I wish for everyone.”

Turani is ready for the opportunities that await at Harlequins and is excited by the prospect of living within a train ride of London, having spent a season near the south Devon coast.

“I always said, I want to live my life for one year near the sea, and I’ve done that in Exeter, and for one year at a place in a big city and I guess that London is a big city,” she said.

“I’ve met some of the girls [at Harlequins] and they’ve been incredibly welcoming and everything, so I’m sure it will be great there.”

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Turani’s season as a Chief was disrupted by a broken hand sustained during the Azzurre’s first Women’s Six Nations match in March and ended in the disappointment of defeat in the showpiece match as Gloucester-Hartpury won the Premier 15s final at Kingsholm.

But having come so close to glory, the loose-head prop looks back on her time at Sandy Park with fondness.

“We had a wonderful season; we won many games. Of course, the end of the season was tough,” Turani said. “A final is a final, but we went there, we played our game and after the game we were aware that Gloucester played better than us. In sport it happens.”

That might be true, but Turani admits the experience has given her “more willingness” to play in another final, which should be music to the ears of her new team-mates and fans at Harlequins.

She certainly feels that she has become a better player during her time in England. “I’ve learned a lot,” Turani said. “The intensity, the physicality that you have to face every week is outstanding.

“And also, I think I’ve learnt how to manage nerves better because every game there is as organised and as planned as a Six Nations game. It’s a big thing every game with lots of crowd, thousands of people coming to every game of the season, which is really cool.

“Yeah, I would say that of course I have improved a lot and the coaches have been outstanding the whole season.

“I’ve been really lucky… when you play with outstanding and world-class players you learn every day. Also, in the little details, that can be in the gym or in the preparation or the way they analyse the game.”

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