RaboDirect PRO 12
Who's the Irish player on the Zebras PRO12 team?
You probably all know the new kids on the block for next season's PRO12 are Italian outfit Zebre. But did you know that they have a lad from Cork playing for them.
The end of Aironi’s involvement in the RaboDirect PRO 12 last season meant that the powers that be had to find a new side to make the 12, well, 12.
So they decided to ask Zebre (The Zebras) to take their place. A northern Italian representative side, like the Barbararians, they too play in black and white, hence the name.
The Zebras announced their 39-man strong squad yesterday, all under the direction of team manager Fabio Ongaro.
Not surprisingly, almost half - 18 in fact – are former Aironi players but as we were scanning through the list one name jumped out at us; Dave Ryan. We thought it looked familar to us.
We were smart enought to assume that he was not Italian but he did move to Zebre from Lazio. A quick bit of digging discovered that Ryan is from Cork and a Munster product.
The loosehead prop is 26 and the brother of another former Munster front-row player, Tim. Dave didn’t get much playing time with Munster so he upped sticks and joined Roman side Lazio, the oldest club in Italy and yes, they are associated with the soccer team.
At 26 he is still developing as a prop and if he can make it into an Italian front-row he can’t be bad. Will he come back to Thomond and punish Munster for letting him go at soime time point this season?
Oh, and anyone wondering if he could slot into the Ireland team, he can’t. This summer Ryan took advantage of his parents to declare for the US and he has joined up with the Eagles. Still, we will at least now have an interest in watching Zebre play this year. Good luck Dave.