Italian rugby was facing a 36th straight Six Nations defeat and an unwelcome seventh Wooden Spoon on March 12, 2022. A hero was required.
With 30 minutes remaining in a match against Scotland in Rome, the struggling Azzurri resorted to a somewhat light and young-looking full-back who had been selected from the second tier of French rugby.
Ange Capuozzo won the title of breakout player of the year for World Rugby eight months later.
French-born Capuozzo rose through the ranks at Grenoble, his hometown club, initially as a scrum-half, but was passed over by Les Bleus at the age-group level.
Italy wouldn’t commit the same error.
The quick-footed Capuozzo played for the national junior teams of Italy before being selected to represent the Azzurri thanks to his Italian parents.