Michele Campagnaro says he cannot wait to pull on an Exeter Chiefs jersey after sealing a move to the Aviva Premiership club from Italian Pro12 outfit Benetton Treviso.
The Devon club confirmed back in February that the gifted Italian international would be joining them on a two-year deal following the culmination of this autumn’s Rugby World Cup.
However, the 22-year-old appears eager to get started with his new club and having made a brief whistle-stop visit to Sandy Park this week, he admits the excitement is already building for him about his new adventure.
First, Mirano-born Campagnaro has the more pressing matter of helping the Azzurri in Pool D of the Rugby World Cup where they will come up against France, Ireland, Italy, Canada and Romania, the latter of whom he will face at his new home ground on Sunday, October 11.
After the Rugby World Cup, though, Campagnaro is set to join up with a Chiefs squad that will be looking to build on last season’s best-ever display in English rugby’s top flight.
From afar the young Italian has watched with interest at how his new club have progressed and he admits he cannot wait to test himself in what he describes as ‘the best championship in Europe’.
"I think it will be a very good experience for me," said Campagnaro. "Every week it is like a Heineken Cup game, so it will be different and tough for sure. I just hope to be ready for it.
“I know English rugby is more physical, but for me it is the best championship in Europe and I am excited to participate in it."
Having watched not only the Chiefs on television, Exeter’s new recruit also sought the views of compatriots playing in the Premiership and was encouraged further by what they had to say.
"I have also spoken to the Italian guys in the Premiership and they tell me it is one of the best teams in the Premiership.
"I spoke to Andrea Masi, Luke McLean and Lorenzo Cittadini, guys that play here in England. They told me about Exeter – a good club, good rugby and a good place.
"I have heard too about the fans that come to games and I hope to hear them soon."
Glowing endorsements aside, Campagnaro says the style of the Chiefs also excited him and he is keen to be part of what is a talented group assembled by head coach Rob Baxter.
"When the move to Exeter was suggested, I was excited so I looked at some information and decided to come here. I heard only good things," he added. "I have seen Exeter on television, especially in the last year. I really like the game the coaches like to play in both attack and defence.
"It is a young team and it is up to me to integrate well into that and do my best. Obviously my first aim is to play and have a new experience, but I want to grow and build up as a player in the next two years."