TRIBUTES from across the global rugby community have been directed towards Massimo Cuttitta, who has died in his hometown just outside Rome from Covid-19 complications, aged 54.
The former Italy captain spent three years as scrummaging coach with Edinburgh from 2006, and six years working with the national team from 2009.
Allan Jacobsen, who won 65 caps for Scotland between 2002 and 2012, wrote on Facebook:
This guy was one of the greatest men I’ve ever met, I grew up idolizing him and was lucky enough to have him as a coach , mentor and more than anything a friend.
Biggest influence on my rugby career by a long way.
RIP my friend , see you on the other side
Stuart McInally, who converted from back-row to hooker during Cuttitta’s time in Scotland, wrote on Twitter:
So sad to hear this news. Thank you for everything you did my for career. Especially the 1-1 scrum coaching on the back pitches of Murrayfield at the start of my hooking days. You’ll be missed, rest easy Massimo.
Alasdair Dickinson, another former Edinburgh and Scotland prop, wrote on Twitter:
Extremely sad to hear the news that Massimo has passed away. Great coach and even better man. One of the very few genuine good men in pro rugby. Rip Massimo. Legend.
Cuttitta played for Italy 70 times between 1990 and 2000, and led the team as captain on 22 of those occasions. He competed in two World Cups in 1991 and 1995, and Italy’s first matches in the Six Nations tournament which they joined in 2000.
Born in Latina, Italy, he spent part of his youth in South Africa where he played rugby, along with his twin brother Marcello, also a former Italy international.
Returning to Italy in 1985, he played for several Italian clubs before joining English club Harlequins in 1997.
As well as Edinburgh and Scotland, he worked as a scrum consultant with teams such as Romania, Canada and Portugal.
FIR (Italian Rugby Federation) president Marzio Innocenti said:
Massimo was one of the symbols of the national team who, thanks to an extraordinary generation of players, gained access to the Six Nations Tournament with a series of unforgettable performances in the 1990s.
He was not only an incredible servant of Italian rugby and an excellent interpreter of the role of prop, but also an appreciated ambassador of our movement abroad.