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Umaga will stay in Italy for next two years

NEWS: Flyhalf Jacob Umaga has signed a new deal with United Rugby Championship outfit Benetton, keeping him in Italy until 2026.

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The 25-year-old has spent the last year in northern Italy after Wasps went bust in late 2022, initially signing a two-year deal. But after an excellent start to the URC season, where Benetton lie in second place behind Leinster, Umaga has decided to stay for a further two years.

Once touted as Marcus Smith’s rival for the England No. 10 jersey, Umaga had been out of the Test picture for over a year when he moved to Benetton in 2022, having won his only England cap under Eddie Jones against the United States in July 2021.

Staying in Italy will of course keep Umaga out of England consideration due to their current overseas policy.

“I am very happy to have extended my contract with Benetton Rugby. I feel that the club will have a great future and is going from strength to strength. We have a great team, which also made my decision easy. Thanks to the fans for the support given to us so far, we appreciate it very much and we hope it will remain so for the rest of the season” Smith said.

Benetton general manager Antonio Pavanello added: “Jacob’s renewal represents very important news for the club. In his first season and a half in Treviso, Umaga has demonstrated his value on the pitch. A player with notable technical skills, capable of attacking the opponent’s defensive line in an incisive manner and also equipped with an excellent foot; the latter quality is also fundamental in terms of construction.

“All this has allowed us to create healthy competition with the other department mates, an ambitious condition that we intend to achieve on all roles by having 2-3 senior figures for each of them. By doing so we raise the quality of training and at the same time keep the squad highly competitive throughout the season, managing to deal with possible absences due to injury.”

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By Josh Raisey

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