sport news Best player at the Six Nations and 's new gladiator Tommaso Menoncello ... trends now

sport news Best player at the Six Nations and Italy's new gladiator Tommaso Menoncello ... trends now

The tattoos and nasty scar on Tommaso Menoncello’s body help tell the story of what has been a short but incredible journey to rugby’s highest level for the new superstar of the Italian game.

Still just 21, Menoncello has been named the Six Nations men’s player of the Championship for 2024, the award capping what has been a remarkable comeback from injury.

He is already a shining light in an Azzurri side which is now looking towards what they will hope will be a bright future after years of misery but also a potential future great.

‘I was the 717th player to play for Italy,’ Menoncello tells Mail Sport, pointing at the number inked on the back of his forearm at the end of his first major interview for a publication outside of his homeland. 

Speaking at the training ground of his club Benetton and clutching the gong which reflects his more-than-promising talent, Menoncello then shows off the marked skin by his left shoulder from the operation he had last summer on a bicep problem which forced him to miss the 2023 World Cup.

Tommaso Menoncello has been named the Six Nations men’s player of the Championship for 2024

Tommaso Menoncello has been named the Six Nations men’s player of the Championship for 2024

The new superstar of the Italian game, 21, came back from injury and an operation to take the Six Nations by storm

The new superstar of the Italian game, 21, came back from injury and an operation to take the Six Nations by storm 

Tommaso Menoncello fact file: 

Age: 21

Position: Centre or wing

Club: Benetton Rugby

Italy caps: 17

Test tries: 5

Height: 6”1’

Weight: 14 stone, 2 lbs

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‘They went in here and here,’ he says, showing off the legacy of the surgeon’s work. ‘I also have the date from my first Test try for Italy tattooed on my chest – February 5, 2022 – against France.

‘This award is a huge thing for me after the injury I had because that was a really difficult period. 

‘Everybody thought it would be very hard for me to come back as before but the only thing in my mind was that I had to come back better. I showed in this Six Nations what I can do. 

‘I’m very proud and happy to be the man of the Six Nations. It was a really big shock.’

Menoncello might soon start running out of room if he marks each of his rugby achievements with some commemorative artwork as there will surely be much more for him to celebrate in the future. 

Not much was known of Menoncello outside of Italy before the start of the year.

But his extraordinary performances in what was statistically the country’s best Six Nations in terms of results announced him to a far wider audience. He is only the second Azzurri player to win the Championship’s coveted individual award and the youngest from any country ever to do so.

‘Sonny Bill Williams is my idol. I want to be like him with the offloading game,’ Menoncello adds, switching between his native Italian and English in impressive fashion.

He is the youngest player to ever win the award and has called their recent success a new 'start' for Italian rugby 

He named heavyweight boxer and former New Zealand rugby star Sonny Bill Williams as his inspiration

He named heavyweight boxer and former New Zealand rugby star Sonny Bill Williams as his inspiration 

Menoncello in the 2024 Six Nations 

Carries: 35

Metres carried: 302.9

Metres gained: 185.9

Line breaks: 2

Tackles made: 46

Offloads: 4

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‘He’s the player I take a lot of inspiration from. In the future I want to improve my ability to offload and also my kicking game. I used to play prop. It was a long time ago – when I started rugby in the Under-12’s. They put me there for one season but I didn’t like it!’

Menoncello is fresh faced and still incredibly young, but he already possesses the sort of hulking physique required to thrive in

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