BIOGRAPHY

Marco Bortolami (born 12 June 1980) is an Italian international rugby union player, playing club rugby for Zebre in the Celtic League. In January 2008 he was replaced as captain of Italy’s national team.

Bortolami began his playing career with the team of his native Padua, making his debut in the second row aged just 18. He was soon made captain of Italy’s Under-21 side, before making his full international debut against Namibia in June, 2001, when he was just 20. At the age of 22, Bortalami was made Italy’s youngest ever captain.

In his first-ever World Cup start – against Tonga in 2003 – he picked up an injury and missed the decisive match against Wales, which saw the Azzurri eliminated from the competition.

After impressing in the 2004 Six Nations Championship championship, he was once again awarded the captaincy for the 2005 Summer tour of Japan. After the tour he joined French club Narbonne.

In the summer of 2006 he joined English Premiership side Gloucester Rugby when he was considered by many top judges to be one of the best players in the world around the time, and stepped straight into the starting team for their first game of the season, immediately taking the role of captain. He made a formidable partnership with Alex Brown and shared captaincy with Peter Buxton. Due to injuries and World Cup commitments, the 2007–08 season wasn’t as consistent and he lost the Italian captaincy to Italian No. 8 Sergio Parisse, but continued to put in powerful performances for Gloucester. His outstanding leadership qualities meant he kept the captaincy last year and by the end of the season he was back to his formidable best. He made 23 appearances for Gloucester in 2008–09.

In 2010 he returned to Italy signing for the new Aironi team which started to compete in the Magners League from the 2010–11 season.

In the 2007 Six Nations Championship, Bortolami led Italy to their first away win in the competition against Scotland at Murrayfield, which was also the first time Italy have won more than one game in a single Six Nations Championship.

In an interview in 2006, Bortolami stated that he wishes to become a mechanic for Ferrari after he retires from professional rugby, using the mechanical skills that he picked up in college. Shortly after the interview had taken place, he received a letter from Ferrari offering him a position as soon as he completed his rugby career.