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The event, to be held on 14 April 2018, was presented today at the offices of the municipality of L'Aquila - for the first time a Guinness PRO14 game will be played in central Italy. The Fattori Stadium and the city of L’Aquila will host the international tournament for the first time, for the 20th round between the Zebre Rugby Club and the Dragons.

The federal franchise Zebra Rugby Club, despite claiming Parma as its formal home ground, also looks to encompass the entire national territory. The trip to L'Aquila for these special events therefore falls within the aim of Zebre Rugby to maintain a strong link with those places where the love for the game is particularly strong. For the first time this year, the opponents of Tommaso Castello and his teammates at the Fattori Stadium will be Dragons, who lost 29 to 14 against Zebre in the last match played in Parma, at the return match of last year’s edition of Guinness PRO14.

The Tommaso Fattori stadium has hosted 16 international games of the Italian national team as well as the Womens’ Rugby Six Nations 2017 game between Italy and Ireland. The L’Aquila stadium - named after the former Italian national coach - will be the fifth Italian stadium to host a Guinness PRO14 match, after Parma, Reggio Emilia, Treviso and Viadana (MN).

The game will start at 14:30 (13:30 UK) with the local Aquila Rugby Club playing against CUS Genova, leader of the promotion pool of the Italian national Serie A championship. At 17:00 Tommaso Castello and his teammates will take on the Dragons, the Region from eastern Wales, who have lost the last three games played in Italy between the two teams. A month from this Sunday's match in Cardiff between Wales and Italy in the Six Nations 2018, some opponents will once again come face to face wearing their club colours to play a match that promises to be as spectacular as the recent games, when many tries were scored.

Martin Anayi, CEO of PRO14 Rugby, said: “It is very exciting to see Zebre Rugby Club take their Guinness PRO14 fixture with Dragons to L’Aquila to help benefit those affected by the earthquake in 2009. There is a great energy among Italian rugby at the club level right now and the exciting style of play that head coach Michael Bradley has implemented has made Zebre a very entertaining team to watch.

"Over the history of our Championship we’ve seen many of our clubs take their fixtures to new communities and this can only help to create more excitement around rugby in Italy."

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