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Polledri takes wisdom from Italy’s old guard to hit peak for Gloucester

Jake Polledri - Gloucester

After a meteoric rise from nowhere to starring for Italy at the World Cup, Jake Polledri now has his sights set on lifting silverware for Gloucester.

Polledri’s march to prominence belies his humble beginning at Dings Crusaders and Hartpury College. However, after rubbing shoulders with 100-cap Italians like Sergio Parisse, Alessandro Zanni and Leonardo Ghiraldini over the last 18 months, the former Colston’s schoolboy is determined to take his game to the next level.

Polledri said: “The World Cup was a crazy experience and Japan was the best country to have it because of the energy the fans created. To be part of it was a dream come true.

“Learning from people like Parisse, Zanni and Ghiraldini has been magnificent. They were massive influences on me and it’s been an amazing journey  in my career so far.

“From Hartpury to getting into Gloucester’s academy, playing in a Challenge Cup final, making my Six Nations debut, playing in the Champions Cup and now a World Cup, it’s gone from zero to 100 and I’m just hitting my peak.”

Polledri, 24, added: “The challenge now, and for every international player, is about maintaining your level. You look at the world’s best players and they maintain their performance and consistency that people expect week-on-week.

“It’s about the pressure of delivering that and also enjoying it, that’s the biggest thing – and I’m definitely enjoying it at Gloucester.”

Having last won a trophy in 2015, Gloucester are desperate to end their drought.

Polledri said: “We’ve had a hiccup in the league but beating Connacht last week put us back on track and there’s a positive mindset.

“There’s a lot we can build on to get back into the top four. It’s been a long time since Gloucester won any silverware and that’s something we’ll be striving hard to achieve.”

NEALE HARVEY

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