San Diego, CA (May 17, 2006) –A jersey worn by Italy #7 Gianni Zanon, in a Rugby World Cup test match against the United States is the latest jersey to be auctioned off by the United States Rugby Foundation to support its youth and high school grant programs.
Gianni was a 21 year old youngster when he made his international debut against Romania in 1981. He went on to play another 44 test matches for Italy over a long 11 year international career. He captained the National Team on nine occasions, including the United States match at the ’91 World Cup. Italy played England after its victory over the U.S. Gianni captained his side against England in what would turn out to be his last international.
A picture of the jersey, along with a brief account of the test match between the United States and Italy from October 5, 1991 can be found on eBay, item #8813291914. The bidding will conclude at 12:00 pm (PST) on Saturday, May 27, 2006.
“I will always remember the ’91 World Cup match against Italy as it was my last,” said USRF Executive Director Brian Vizard, who is donating 10 jerseys he’s collected throughout his international career with the U.S. to be used as auction items. “I remember we wasted a couple of scoring opportunities early in the match and Italy scored a couple of tries on some nice individual efforts to go clear of us in the second half.”
The Zanon jersey is the latest jersey to be auctioned by the USRF. A Dean Richards England #8 jersey was the first to be posted on eBay. That was followed by a rare green Welsh jersey worn by #8 Paul Moriarty. Eric Champ’s #6 French jersey was next on the auction block. Noel Mannion’s Ireland #8 jersey was next up followed by a #8 jersey worn by Canadian great Glenn Ennis. The Wallaby #8 jersey worn by the great Tim Gavin followed while last month’s jersey on auction was worn by former Scottish 8man, Stuart Reid. All proceeds from the auctions benefit the USRF Ball and High School Start-Up Kit Grant Programs.
The USRF is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization established in 1963. Although its main focus is supporting youth and high school rugby, the Foundation also provides grants to coaches and referees; establishes international student exchanges and college scholarships, has assisted the United States Collegiate All-Americans and Boys Under-19 teams, and also provides grants to Safety and Risk Management Research.
For more information about the Foundation, go to its website at: www.usrugbyfoundation.org.