Once called up by Eddie Jones for England, the winger/centre is set to shine for Italy at the 2023 Rugby World Cup
Paolo Odogwu started his 2022-23 season at Wasps and ended it by signing a deal with Benetton Treviso – either side of a spell in France.
There’s been a big move for him internationally in that time too. Here’s all you need to know about him…
Ten things you should know about Paolo Odogwu…
1. He is, the son of a half-Nigerian, half-Italian father and a Nigerian mother, and was born in Coventry on February 18, 1997. He was educated at both Leicester Grammar School and King Edward’s School in Birmingham.
2. Odogwu didn’t pick up a rugby ball until he was 11 years old when he was introduced to the sport by King Edward’s School. After scoring a 60-metre try as a prop forward, his progression was swift with his performances for Walsall Rugby Club seeing him push into the Staffordshire county set-up – a catchment area for Leicester Tigers.
3. Aged 14, Odogwu joined Leicester Tigers and scored an eye-catching try in Marcos Ayerza’s testimonial match at Welford Road. With the competition fierce in the wide channels, Odogwu was released in the summer of 2016.
Christian Wade record broken
4. In 2016 he broke Christian Wade’s tryscoring record in the Premiership Sevens after scoring eight tries in the group stages for Sale Sharks and made his full senior debut in September 2016. After two seasons at the AJ Bell, and with competition fierce from the likes of Chris Ashton, Marland Yarde and Denny Solomona, he wasn’t retained and Wasps came calling.
5. Season one at Wasps was a bit of a nightmare as he failed to score in his first eight games of the 2019/20 season, was red carded against former club Sale Sharks and suffered with injuries.
6. In the 2020/21 season, then Wasps head coach Lee Blackett deployed Odogwu at outside centre as Malakai Fekitoa was out injured. He made an immediate impact, scoring six tries in eight games.
7. Odogwu was called up by Eddie Jones for the 2021 Six Nations and remained with the squad throughout the campaign without being capped. Due to Covid restrictions at the time, he was unable to be released back to his club and consequently didn’t play a game for 11 weeks.
8. He formed a clothing brand with former Wasps teammate Jacob Umaga in 2021 called Composure Club.
Wasps woe, Stade Francais lifeline
9. Odogwu was among the 167 Wasps players, coaches and staff to be made redundant when the club collapsed in October 2022. He was snapped up by Stade Francais and scored on his first Top 14 outing against Racing 92 – however, that would prove to be his only try for the Paris club and he wasn’t retained at the end of the 2022/23 season.
10. After committing his international future to Italy, Odogwu was called into a World Cup training squad and he was latter confirmed as a Benneton Treviso player ahead of the 2023/24 campaign – when he will team up with fellow ex-Wasps players Malakai Fekitoa, Jacob Umaga, Marcus Watson and Matteo Minozzi.
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