Italy prop Pietro Ceccarelli to join Edinburgh from Oyonnax

Pietro Ceccarelli in action for Itlyl Under-20
Pietro Ceccarelli represented Italy Under 20 in 2011

Italy prop Pietro Ceccarelli has agreed a one-year deal to join Edinburgh next season.

The tight-head, 26, has won nine caps to date and is currently with French Top 14 outfit Oyonnax.

Edinburgh are also close to bolstering their prop stocks further, with South African Under-20 international Pierre Schoeman poised to join from Bulls franchise.

"I'm really excited for this new experience," Ceccarelli said.

"The Pro14 is a competition that I know well, but this new challenge, in a different country, with a different rugby culture, will only make me a better rugby player.

"I'm looking forward to giving my all for Edinburgh."

Each of Ceccarelli's international appearances has come off the bench, the most recent against Australia in June, following his substitute outing in the Azzurri's defeat by Scotland in Singapore.

He began his professional career at Rome-based Lazio Rugby Club before earning a move to French side La Rochelle in 2012 and has also spent time with Edinburgh's Pro14 counterparts Zebre.

Ceccarelli's new club have been hit by a number of front-row injuries this season.

Veteran Scotland loose-head Al Dickinson, 34, has been sidelined for the entire season, while fellow Scottish international Allan Dell last featured in October.

Darryl Marfo, the loose-head who burst onto the Test scene in November, returned from a fourth-month absence last month, with Rory Sutherland and tight-head WP Nel also spending much of the campaign on the treatment table.

Head coach coach Richard Cockerill was forced to bring in Ceccarelli's compatriot, Michele Rizzo, Samoan international Jordan Lay and English Championship recruits Matt Shields and Elliot Millar-Mills on a range of short-term contracts and loan deals.

"Pietro is a combatable tight-head who's had experience playing in both the French Top 14 and on the international stage," Cockerill added.

"His arrival next season will only add to our strength and depth in the front-row."

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