Silvia Turani’s life changed forever in 2022. It was the year she moved to England, but more importantly, she became a full-time rugby player.

The Italy prop only took up the sport in 2017 but has quickly established herself as one of her country’s most important players.

And as well as being part of the first Italy side to reach the knockout stages of a women’s or men’s Rugby World Cup, Turani was also part of the first group of Italian players given full-time contracts. The Azzurre followed in the footsteps of trailblazers England, with every side in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations having now introduced professional contracts.

In 2022, Turani also joined Exeter Chiefs in England’s domestic league, helping Chiefs reach a second successive final.

Her spell in Devon was a short one, with Turani now plying her trade in London with Harlequins, and there is no question it has been a whirlwind couple of years for the 28-year-old.

She explained: “It’s been great playing in England. It came at the same time as we got contracts with Italy so my life completely changed. I’m not a full-time rugby player, which is great. It was a big change and in Exeter it was great. I wasn’t there for that long because I arrived late because of the World Cup and was then away with Italy for the Six Nations. It was a great season though, we got to the final.

“Now I’ve moved to Harlequins, did pre-season with them. I got a really good feeling about the season. We want to prove we make the top four of the Prem. The staff is great, my teammates are great. 

“As a player, it’s interesting to see how life can be different when you are full-time and you are in a pro environment every day of your life.”

While Turani plays her club rugby in England in Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby, she is currently on the other side of the world in South Africa, with Italy competing in WXV.

The new international tournament has been launched by World Rugby in a bid to revolutionise the global women’s rugby landscape, with Italy competing in the second of three tiers.

Italy fell just short of toppling Scotland at the top of WXV 2 following a 30-8 victory over USA.

Needing to win by 25 points to end at the summit, first-half tries from Giordana Duca and Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi helped open up a 12-3 lead at the break.

Sofia Stefan crossed to stretch the advantage before Tahlia Brody went over for USA’s first score of the afternoon on 47 minutes.

Tries from Alyssa D’Inca and Elisa Giordano, along with a Michela Sillari penalty, meant Italy had 17 minutes to find the extra three points they needed but they fell just short, coming closest with five minutes to play as a try was disallowed for obstruction.

And as well as giving Italy the chance to take on countries that they are not accustomed to facing, the competition has also given an insight into how the global game is developing.

Turani said: It's interesting, not only from a player point of view but also just as individuals.

“You can see how things change from one year to the next. Looking at Scotland, they didn’t have contracts and now they do and their game is improving a lot. 

“You can ask what they are doing, what is happening. Month by month, year by year, you can see how rugby is evolving. It’s so interesting.”