New boy Braley puts full focus on Saints as he retires from international rugby

New signing Callum Braley has today announced his retirement from international rugby with Italy with immediate effect to focus on playing his club rugby with Saints.

By Tom Vickers
Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 12:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 12:02 pm
Callum Braley
Callum Braley

Some supporters had questioned why Saints would sign Braley with the possibility that both he and England man Alex Mitchell could be away during international periods.

But the situation has become clearer with the news that the Italy man will no longer be representing his country.

The 28-year-old scrum-half earned 15 caps in total for Italy between 2019 and 2022, starting his final Test last month as the Azzurri recorded an historic Six Nations victory in Wales.

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He will make the switch to cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens this summer from Benetton Rugby.

“My experience over in Italy has been fantastic and I feel like I have grown as a person and a player, but I am ready for a return to England and to challenge for silverware with Saints,” Braley said after signing on at Saints.

“Northampton players are encouraged to express themselves on the field and I love the way the team plays.

"It’s clear to me there’s a great environment to develop as a player at Franklin’s Gardens, and there are exciting times ahead with the coaching group that has been put in place for next season.

“I remember how passionate the Northampton supporters are from my time in the Premiership, and I hope I can do them proud when I pull on a black, green and gold jersey next season.

“My team-mates and all the staff of the Italian national team have contributed significantly to my growth, on and off the pitch.

"I will always be grateful to everyone for the support that has been given to me, and I will be supporting them with the same passion – even if at a distance – for all of Italy’s Test matches in future.”

Braley made his debut for Italy against Ireland in 2019, before representing his country at the Rugby World Cup later that year.

He scored his first try for the Azzurri against Scotland in this year’s Six Nations, before rounding off his time in the Italian jersey by starting in a famous 22-21 triumph over Wales in March.

Kieran Crowley, Italy’s head coach, added: “Callum has always been an example on and off the pitch.

“Discipline and his attitude to work are among the qualities that have led him to be one of the points of reference for the team and the group of leaders.

“I had the pleasure of working with him first in Treviso and then with the Italian national team.

"We had a long conversation about his decision that made me appreciate even more what his human qualities are.

"I wish Callum the best in his career, on and off the pitch.”