18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
Italian rugby need look no further than the increased challenge of competing in Europe to see why the Azzurri are making headlines.
Amatori & Calvisano won their first ever Heineken Cup match on their ninth attempt with a 38-29 win over Neath in front of their home fans in Round 3. They went on to give Leicester Tigers a run for their money in Round 5 before finishing off the Pool stage with a good victory over Béziers in Round 6.
Viadana, the second Italian side in the Heineken Cup, finished the Pool stage without a win, but they pushed quarter-finalists Perpignan, the French side only just managing a 39-35 victory.
In the PARKER PEN CHALLENGE CUP, Treviso destroyed last season's Heineken cup semi-finalists Castres Olympique, and Padova have competed well in the PARKER PEN SHIELD, an impressive double win over Mont de Marsan in the quarter-finals giving them a semi-final double-header against Caerphilly.
The quality of the Italian championship (Super 10) has also helped push Italian rugby to the fore.
Italian coach John Kirwan selected 20 of his 24-man Six Nations squad from the six clubs that compete in Europe.
CALVISANO supplies eight players: Leandro Castrogiovanni, Giampiero De Carli, Andrea De Rossi, Andrea Moretti, Salvatore Perugini, Giovanni Raineri, Paolo Vaccari and Cristian Zanoletti.
TREVISO supply six: Mauro Bergamasco, Denis Dallan, Ramiro Martinez, Nicola Mazzucato, Scott Palmer, Alessandro Troncon.
VIADANA supply three: Cristian Bezzi, Aaron Persico and Matthew Phillips.
PETRARCA PADOVA supply two: Mirco Bergamasco, Marco Bortolami.
And both GRAN PARMA (Carlo Festuccia) and L'OVERMACH PARMA (Gert Peens), supply one each.
Only four men are playing their rugby away from the Super 10. Mark Giacheri and Ramiro Pez play for English Division One side Rotherham, while Cristian Stoica represents Castres Olympique and Diego Dominguez plays for Stade Francais.