Vanzati follows the road less travelled to Reds debut

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Swedish born and Adelaide raised, Markus Vanzati's road to a Queensland Reds debut is straight off the road less travelled.

That has not stopped the 22-year-old rookie prop, who was imposing in all aspects in his 17 minute cameo against the Crusaders.

Vanzati used all of his 116kg frame to repeatedly carry the ball over the gain line but more importantly, kept the Reds scrum solid where it crumbled the week prior.

Fellow young gun Taniela Tupou and Vanzati were under pressure to stand up to a Crusaders scrum that had the ascendency in the first term and the pair delivered.

Vanzati's performance was so impressive that it caught the eye of Wallabies skipper and Reds teammate Stephen Moore.Markus Vanzati helped a Reds scrum that battled in round two. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"I thought Markus was terrific on the weekend in his first game, he made a real impact and he’s trained really hard," he said.

"He’s done everything right and I’m just happy to see when a player gets an opportunity like that, that they step up and take it."

Vanzati was not raised to be a rugby player.

Born in Sweden before his family migrated to Adelaide, he took it upon himself to move from the city of churches to boarding school at Toowoomba Grammar to chase his dream of playing professional rugby.

He earned a Queensland Schoolboys berth in 2012 before playing a prominent role in Souths' 2015 Premier Rugby winning team - his work there earning him selection for Brisbane City in the 2015 and 2016 NRC.

That progression reached its crescendo against the Crusaders, as Vanzati replaced Sef Fa'agase in the matchday 23 after Fa'agase was ruled out with calf soreness.

 

The 17 minutes he spent in the middle of Suncorp Stadium showcased his varied skill set.

It is that of the modern day prop, proficient at both scrum time and around the park.

"It's a huge honour for me, I've been looking forward to this for a long time and especially to do it with this group, the Reds, it's an amazing privilege," Vanzati said after his debut.

"I'm really looking forward to any more opportunities I might get.

"Now I have a taste for it, I'm really excited."

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