Sisi spoiled for choice - but opts for Azzurri

Second-row is eligible to play for Italy, England and Scotland but not the country of his birth, Germany.

SHIZUOKA, 1 Oct - David Sisi was spoiled for choice when it came to deciding who to play international rugby for, but having chosen Italy, he is making the most of his first Rugby World Cup.

Sisi, seen above in action against Canada, is qualified for England, Scotland and Italy. The one country he is not eligible for is the one where he was born.

When the 26-year-old made his World Cup debut in Italy’s 48-7 defeat of Canada he became the first German-born player to appear at a Rugby World Cup.

He was born in Rinteln where his father Carlo was serving with the British forces.

Germany missed out on Japan 2019 when they lost to Canada in the repechage and while Sisi was yet to make his Italy debut by then, even if the call had come from the country of his birth it was unlikely he could have accepted the invitation.

"I was born on an army base because my dad was a serving soldier in the British Army," Sisi explained.

"The way my parents have told me is that people born on an army base can't qualify for Germany nationality.

"The knock-on effect is I’m not a German citizen, in no way German. It is a bizarre situation. I’ve never gone looking at that different path."

Besides Italy, Sisi was also eligible for England where he grew up, and Scotland where his father was born.

The second-row qualifies for the Azzurri through Italian grandparents but appeared set for a career for England after he helped them to win the World Rugby U20 Championship in 2013.

Aged 16, he joined London Irish’s academy and from there he moved to Bath. However, after his career stagnated, the call came from Italian club Zebre in 2017 and he has not looked back since.

"I’ve always known I’ve got the two avenues," he said. "It got to the stage in my Bath career that I was looking for something different after sustained periods of injury I was looking for a new challenge in rugby.

"The opportunity came to move to Italy with Zebre, in Parma, but the international scene wasn’t really a goal at the time.

"I’d had two years of bad injuries and just wanted something different from the Premiership, which I’d played in since I was 17.

"It has been the result of a lot of hard work in Parma with Zebre. It has been a fantastic move."

Italy's next match is against South Africa at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa on Friday.

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