Kenya’s under-20 Michele Brighetti is set to switch sides and make his debut at the 2020 Six Nations U-20 Championships, following his call-up to the Italian 24-man Under 20 side. Brighetti has featured in the Kenya U-20 squad, known as Chipu, that played at the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy in Brazil in July 2019.
Brighetti’s Italian ancestry and the fact that he has not played for the Kenyan senior rugby team means that he enjoys some latitude to switch national sides. According to World Rugby regulations on switching unions (Regulation 8), a player who has not featured in a senior national side may appear for a different country if he meets the eligibility criteria to do so.
The player seeking to change national sides would need to be born in the country he seeks to play for or have at least one parent or grandparent born in the country in question. The third and last criteria would be that he has ‘completed thirty six consecutive months of residence immediately preceding the time of playing’.
Michele is the son of former Kenya Scorpions international and Nondies Rugby Club player, Marco Brighetti. The youngster left Kenya in 2019 to join the Accademia Nazionale “Ivan Francescato” in Italy.
The school is an elite player development rugby academy in Italy run within the Federazione Italiana Rugby: They customarily select the best U-16, U-18 and U-20 players who are considered good prospects and can eventually be developed into future senior national team players.
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