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Monday Apr 12, 2021

Tributes paid to former Italy captain Massimo Cuttitta

Tributes from around the world of rugby are flooding in for former Italian captain Massimo Cuttitta, who died on Sunday following complications from COVID-19.

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Cuttitta, who was 54, played 69 times for his country and contested two Rugby World Cups, in 1991 and 1995.

The twin brother of winger Marcello Cuttitta, Massimo was a big character within the Italian game and was known as a fierce competitor and a great prop forward of his time.

It was this prowess in the front five that allowed Cuttitta to forge a post-playing career in coaching, most notably working with Scotland as their scrum coach under Scott Johnson’s realm in 2009.

He also worked as a consultant for Romania, Portugal and Canada.

Cuttitta captained the Azzurri 16 times and scored six tries during a 10-year international career. His biggest achievements in the blue of Italy came in the 1997 FIRA Cup, beating France, and then three years later as Italy marked their debut in the inaugural Six Nations tournament by downing Scotland 34-20 in Rome.

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Although Italian by birth, Cuttitta was notable for his distinctly South African accent, acquired through his family who moved to South Africa in the 1960s. This is where Massimo, Marcello and their other sibling Michele got their first taste of rugby, which continued on their return to Italy in the 80s.

A statement from the Italian Rugby Federation said: “It was with the deepest dismay that the Italian Rugby Federation and the entire national rugby movement learned of the untimely death of Massimo Cuttitta.”

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