The Italy back-rower was on our screens during the Six Nations

You may have seen Jake Polledri on the BBC pundit panel during Scotland versus Italy in the Six Nations and asked: ‘Who is Jake Polledri?’

At his peak, the back-rower has been unplayable in the contact area. A few years ago, BT Sport commentator Alastair Eykyn highlighted Jake Polledri for his “freakish power” while playing for Italy. Pundit Ben Kay also said: “There’s no one better at staying on his feet than him. He’s one of the most balanced runners I’ve ever seen.”

Polledri – educated at Colston’s in Bristol – went on to play for Hartpury as he continued his education. Fellow Italy back-rower Seb Negri also studied at Hartpury.

Polledri qualifies for Italy through his grandparents, and in 2018 made his full Test debut, against Scotland.

The back-row has had his issues with injury, suffering a serious knee ligament injury that ruled him out for for nearly 18 months – which is why it was brilliant news when he has signed a contract extension to stay with Gloucester for the 2022-23 season.

However, in March of this year it was declared that he would depart the Cherry and Whites at the end of the 2022-23 season to join Italian franchise Zebre, in Parma.

A few years back, Polledri told us of his ball-carrying: “So you practise that leg drive, you’re getting that strength training and developing power, in the hope that in games you feel like you’re doing that drill but without someone pulling you back. It’s all about muscle memory. When we do it in training and then on the field you know you’re going to cope, you’re going to be stronger. That’s a drill we do regularly.”

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