By James Reid
Italy prop Silvia Turani hopes her time playing in England can provide an extra cutting edge ahead of the 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations.
Turani made the switch to Exeter Chiefs ahead of the start of the season, joining the ranks of Susie Appleby’s star-studded side.
The 27-year-old’s attentions have now switched to the TikTok Women’s Six Nations ahead of Le Azzure’s opener against France on 26 March, where there has been plenty of change since a fourth-placed finish last year.
Giovanni Ranieri is now in charge, while stalwarts Manuela Furlan and Sara Barattin have both retired but Turani is upbeat about the start of a new era.
“I am super excited; I really can’t wait,” she said. “Now that I am playing here in England, there are some faces that I play with that I will play against which makes it even more exciting.
“We have some new faces who are bringing energy that we need, and we have a new coach; when you have something new it is always exciting.
“We are keeping our game plan the same, so it will be different but not too different; we are always us.”
Six Nations Rugby, the official organising body responsible for the TikTok Women’s Six Nations, broke all fan engagement records in 2022 and highlighted its commitment to giving the women’s game the best possible platform to grow.
The 2023 edition of the Championship stands to build on this progress, with even bigger crowds expected, more international broadcasters covering all the action and unprecedented social and digital promotion for the heroes of the women’s game.
A tough start against runners-up France followed by Grand Slam champions England awaits Italy in their opening two weeks, before fixtures against Ireland, Scotland, and Wales that they target as wins.
Expectations will perhaps be higher following the award of 25 contracts at the end of last year’s Championship, and Turani is determined to forge a new generation of role models – something she never had.
“Italy is finally really investing in the women’s game and giving us all the opportunities we can wish for in terms of camps, warm-up games, financial support and nutrition,” she added.
“We are all aware that we don’t have the same means of England and France, but we are moving in the right direction.
“Rugby is a minor sport in Italy, but the male team now are performing really well and that is helping rugby to get interest from people that weren’t rugby fans before.
“I think this will help us as well to get more attention. I really like it when men and women are moving together in the right direction and can help each other.
“All I wanted as a little girl was a role model to follow. I am just so honoured if I can be someone’s role model.
“I didn’t have a role model. I just picked up bits from each person I played with.
“I went to a school and there were lots of children, both male and female, and I was just talking about rugby, and they were so excited. It’s amazing to think about.”
For all the latest TikTok Women’s Six Nations news, information, and details on how to watch the Championship, visit: https://womens.sixnationsrugby.com/