Six Nations 2014: Mirco Bergamasco set for return to Italy squad 14 months after fracturing his kneecap

The 30-year-old utility back, now with Rovigo in his homeland, has stood out this season and earnt a recall from national coach Jacques Brunel

Mirco Bergamasco's international career looked to be over after the 30-year-old fractured his kneecap during a Test against Australia in November of 2012.

Surgery and a long recovery period followed for the experienced Italian winger.

Bergamasco suffered another setback last summer when French club Racing Metro, whom he had joined in 2010 from rivals Stade Francais, decided not to offer him a contract extension.

While his move to Italian outfit Rovigo in July was a step back in his club career, it served as a platform to return to the national team just six months later.

"(Italy) coach Jacques Brunel told me that the door of the national team is always open and that it depended on me," Bergamasco said.

It is easy to see why Brunel included Bergamasco in his squad for the upcoming RBS 6 Nations.

"I told Mirco that if he managed to show he was at a level that was better than the average in the Italian league, then it wouldn't be difficult for me to call him up to the national side," Brunel said. "He is constantly among the best on the pitch for Rovigo and is one of the most experienced international players."

Bergamasco, who made his debut with the national team in 2002 and has earned 89 caps since, feels at home with Rovigo.

"Rovigo was the only serious and interesting proposal I had," he said. "I'm very happy to return to the origins of Italian rugby, the club that has the most passionate fans."

The Bergamasco family also have plenty of ties with Rovigo.

"My father played (rugby) at Rovigo," Bergamasco said. "The club house is full of his photos.

"My mother was born here and it's here where they got married.

"My grandmother lives 200 metres away from the stadium and she came to my unveiling.

"I've had to buy 20 season tickets for my family and had I known that, I would have included those in my contract!"

Bergamasco admits there is less pressure competing in Italy's top flight (the National Championship of Excellence) than in France.

"I kick every weekend," Bergamasco said. "As a centre, it's easier with less pressure. But at Rovigo I have found a quality group led by very capable coaches.

"The atmosphere in general is very professional, perhaps more than other clubs that I have played for in the past."

Bergamasco has been included in Brunel's squad as a winger although centre remains his ideal position.

"The important thing is to be a part of the group," Bergamasco said. "I'm always available for the national team.

"I will try to find more space and if possible, in the role that I feel more comfortable with. I am very happy and ready to give 100 per cent."

Bergamasco watched in frustration as Italy endured ups and downs in 2013.

For the second time in their history, the Azzurri won two games at the RBS Six Nations, including an historic victory over Ireland.

Defeats to South Africa and Samoa followed in the summer, however.

Italy began their November Tests with a heavy defeat (50-20) to Australia in Turin.

The Azzurri then beat Fiji 37-31 in Cremona and ended the year with a 19-14 loss to Argentina in Rome.

"It's always difficult to judge from outside," Bergamasco said. "I only say that the Tests in June and November serve as a preparation for the Six Nations and in the last tournament we did well."

Bergamasco will again team up with older brother Mauro, who returns to the Six Nations having been left out in last year's edition for technical reasons.

"We are hard working and we have never given up on the possibility of returning to the national team," Bergamasco said.

"We have overcome difficult times but we have always fought because that's how we are."

Italy begin the Six Nations against reigning champions Wales in Cardiff on February 1 before travelling to France one week later.

The Azzurri host Scotland on February 22 before facing Ireland in Dublin two weeks later.

Italy end the competition at home to England on March 15.

PA

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?