The Official Online RBS 6 Nations Store is open. The store has everything you need to get behind your team during the RBS 6 Nations, plus the store is now fully stocked with a much wider range of rugby merchandise.
For Venditti, his maiden match couldn’t have come in much more difficult circumstances against World Cup finalists France still smarting from their reversal at the Stadio Flaminio in 2011.
And apart from a missed tackle on opposite wing Julien Malzieu in the 34th minute, leading to Les Bleus’ second try, the 21-year-old put in a solid shift but knows there are several areas for improvement.
“It was special,” he said. “I was just so happy my debut came in the Six Nations against France in a full stadium.
“The first half went badly, we relinquished possession, they got two tries from our errors. Then in the second half they dominated the game and we had to live on some good turnover ball.
“Personally the French tackled me well, always to the floor. I can’t give myself a mark out of ten though because I wouldn’t know how to judge it – that’s one for the coaches to decide.
“I enjoyed it, a shame about the result and we have areas to work on but it was good.
“I really hoped that I was selected again because I want to do it all again.”
Venditti has come a long way in a year. For the entirety of last season he couldn’t even get a game for his club Aironi, whom he joined from Gran Parma in the summer of 2010.
Now the 17st, 6ft 3in finisher is looking forward to facing the reigning champions in the special surroundings of Rome’s Olimpico Stadium – Italy’s temporary home while the Flaminio is refurbished.
“To play in Italy, at the Olimpico, in front of a full house – I want to enjoy that along with the fans,” he added.
“I want to play well personally and bring something home for the fans to celebrate because they deserve it for the way they make us feel.
“I’m a big AC Milan fan but the Olimpico (home to football teams AS Roma and SS Lazio) is particularly special for Italians. As it’s a football stadium, for us to play there means a lot.”
Venditti will earn his second cap in the clash with England with a full head of hair – an almost unique experience for Italian rugby players of recent times as modern tradition dictates new caps lose their often flowing locks immediately after their debut.
“I still have my hair,” he explained. “In my opinion it’s only because we have a really important game coming up, not just to prepare for, but to win perhaps.
“But after the England game there’s a week’s break,” which should be more than enough time for the team’s hairdresser to track down his newest customer.