From the Calcutta Cup and now the Cuttitta Cup, the Six Nations has its fair share of trophies.

Many of the 15 matches in the annual Championship come with the added bonus of silverware, and on Saturday the winners of the Italy v Scotland match will be recipients of the latest trophy crafted in honour of a key figure as well as a precious four or five points.

In this case, that individual is former Italy captain and hugely respected and popular Scotland scrum coach, Massimo Cuttitta, who died of COVID 11 months ago at the age of 54.

Massimo won 70 caps for Italy in a 10-year test career from 1990, captaining his country on 22 occasions, before imparting his wisdom of the scrum in a wide range of coaching roles around the world.

“When Massimo passed away, it was evident how highly regarded he was whether in Italy, Scotland or beyond, as a scrum technician but above all, as a selfless, warm and compassionate human being,” explained Scottish Rugby’s chief executive, Mark Dodson.

“Massimo was a big man, who made a big impression on the people fortunate enough to meet him.

“We wanted there to be something tangible by which Massimo could be remembered and we were delighted to put forward a trophy in his honour.”

Magnificent ambassador

“Mouse” by nickname but one hell of a man, according to all those who knew him, Cuttitta’s influence also extended to his culinary skills. At Doncaster Knights, the players he coached would salivate at the thought of his “Spaghetti Carbonara Wednesdays”

But it was his influence on the game of rugby, in particular the scrum, that made him a worthy recipient of this honour.

“Massimo has been a great servant of Italian rugby during his time with the Azzurri jersey and, as a scrum coach, his ability to innovate such a key area of the game made him a magnificent ambassador for our rugby beyond the borders,” said the president of the Federation of Italian Rugby.

“The Cuttitta Cup witnesses his legacy to the game, and we are proud to have been involved in the project and to award the Cuttitta Cup for the first time on our home ground.”

Fittingly, the Cuttitta Cup was made by Edinburgh jewellers Hamilton & Inches, creators of the recent Doddie Weir Cup and restorers of the Calcutta Cup, rugby’s oldest trophy.

The Cuttitta Cup has eight principal components to reflect the eight-man scrum – including props bending down ready for the engagement as the handles – and weighs 4.5kgs and stands 50cm tall.

It also completes the set for Scotland matches in the Six Nations. Scotland already play for the Calcutta Cup v England, the Centenary Quaich v Ireland, the Auld Alliance Trophy v France and the Doddie Weir Cup v Wales.

Massimo’s twin brother, Marcello, and his older brother, Michele, will be at Stadio Olimpico on Saturday to present the trophy to the winning captain.

“When Scottish Rugby contacted our family and told us they wanted to inaugurate a trophy in Mouse’s memory we were very honoured,” said Marcello, himself an international winger during the 1990s.

“Massimo loved Scotland. He loved the Scottish people. There’s always a story behind sporting trophies and to think that in 100 years’ time, people will hear the story of Massimo when they see this trophy is quite incredible.”

Photo credit: Scottish Rugby/SNS Images

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