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'We'd a long conversation': Callum Braley quits Test rugby aged 28

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Antonietta Baldassarre/Insidefoto/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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New Northampton signing Callum Braley has announced his retirement from international rugby with Italy with immediate effect to focus on playing his club rugby with the Gallagher Premiership club. The 28-year-old scrum-half earned 15 caps in total for Italy between 2019 and 2022, starting his final Test last month as the Azzurri recorded a historic Six Nations victory in Wales. He now makes the switch to Franklin’s Gardens this summer from Benetton.

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“My experience over in Italy has been fantastic and I feel like I have grown as a person and a player, but I am ready for a return to England and to challenge for silverware with Saints,” said Braley on the Northampton club website. 

“Northampton players are encouraged to express themselves on the field and I love the way the team plays. It’s clear to me there is a great environment to develop as a player at Franklin’s Gardens and there are exciting times ahead with the coaching group that has been put in place for next season.

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“My teammates and all the staff of the Italian national team have contributed significantly to my growth, on and off the pitch. I will always be grateful to everyone for the support that has been given to me, and I will be supporting them with the same passion – even if at a distance – for all of Italy’s Test matches in future.”

Braley made his debut for Italy against Ireland in 2019 before representing his country at the World Cup later that year. He scored his first try for the Azzurri against Scotland in this year’s Six Nations before rounding off his time in the Italian jersey by starting in a famous 22-21 triumph over Wales in March.

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Italy boss Kieran Crowley added: “Callum has always been an example on and off the pitch. Discipline and his attitude to work are among the qualities that have led him to be one of the points of reference for the team and the group of leaders.

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“I had the pleasure of working with him first in Treviso and then with the Italian national team. We had a long conversation about his decision that made me appreciate even more what his human qualities are. I wish Callum the best in his career, on and off the pitch.”

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