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    Italy’s new status

    @@@@SPAN id=intelliTXT>


    Italy captain Marco Bortolami believes his players must keep their feet firmly on the ground but can now look to the future with optimism.

    The Azzurri were greeted as heroes by 10,000 fans in Rome's historic Piazza del Popolo following yesterday's final Six Nations game against Ireland.

    Pierre Berbizier's men may have lost 51-24 at the Stadio Flaminio to finish fourth but they finish with their best record since joining the tournament in 2000.

    Saturday's setback provided a low-key end to what has been an otherwise impressive tournament for the Italians, after wins against Scotland in Murrayfield and a home triumph against Wales.

    The triumph in Edinburgh was the first tournament win away from the Eternal City for the Azzurri since they joined the competition.

    "This defeat is not a step back," said 26-year-old lock Bortolami. "Let's not forget that Ireland play the best rugby in Europe even if they lost against France.

    "We have scored two tries against Ireland and this can only give us confidence for the future."

    Italy have shown a big improvement since their opening 39-3 defeat to France.

    They produced a good display against world champions England in Twickenham, losing 20-7, before beating Scotland 37-17 and then edging Wales 23-20.

    Berbizier's men can take some positives from the tournament as they look ahead to this summer's World Cup in France - the Italians begin the competition against the mighty New Zealand All Blacks on September 8.

    "I believe we have played a good Six Nations," said Bortolami.

    "We've always maintained that we must improve and we will continue to work hard in order to be better.

    "We hope that the fans will continue to support us in our next competitions and we must be confident for the World Cup."

    Frenchman Berbizier said: "I want to thank my team.

    "My players have given everything until the end of the game. Unfortunately will doesn't win you games.

    "We simply have to compliment Ireland, in the first half we have had opportunities but it's difficult to get back into the game when you are losing against them."

    Italian rugby has enjoyed a high profile during this year's Six Nations on the back of their improved performances and the sport's reputation for good crowd behaviour at a time when the country's favourite sport, football, has been rocked by scandal and violence.

    Even Italian prime minister Romano Prodi, who met the team earlier in the week, has declared himself a fan of the sport.

    By Cindy Garcia-Bennett in Rome @@@@/SPAN><!- /intelliTXT ->

    #2


    I seem to remember it wasn't too long ago, this season, that people were forecasting the demise of Italian rugby and their Clubs, wondering if they had anything to offer in the European Cup or the 6 Nations.


    Granted, their Clubs are suffering as their best players are not plying their trade in the bigger clubs in England or France, as they probably should, and this has shown itself in the performance of their national team. I'm not sure of the score-line facts, but we've heard many a time about how it took France years to win their first 5 Nations game, and they had little or any Club game to participate with.


    It's only for the benefit of the 6 Nations that Italy had such a succesfull season. As was mentioned, considering how the Football game is essentially attended by neanderthal racist hooligans, hopefully Rugby will continue on it's path to World Domination and bring Peace and Love to all Peoples of the World under one Ball!


    Amen!

    Comment


      #3
      Was looking through the programme yesterday, half the italian squad play for calvissano
      Seven social sins: politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice



      Comment


        #4
        Thought they were wrong to sack or not renewKirwan, but looks like I was wrong

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          #5


          I tend to believe that this period for Italy is another flash in the pan as was the case when Dominguez was playing for them. Lets not forget they beat Ireland back in those heady days but we progressed and they have fallen back. Why??


          They do not have a structure under the National team and if they continue to allow players go to France and England to play they will be back to square one. Unlike Argentina who let their players ply their trade in Europe they do not have the converyor belt of new young players coming through in Italy as is the case of Argentina. Italy must look at the Irish/Welsh club model and keep their players in Italy in the clubs and try to get a place in the Magners Leagueif they are to sustain progress Internationally. The Italians might also get to like Irish Cider which wouldbegood for Irish exports[img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]
          Munster to Win the HCUP in 2012!

          Comment


            #6
            Well judging by the direction Scotland are going in, we might need them to shore up the ML.
            Hello friends in Brussels. Baldy here

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              #7
              Originally posted by munster cat


              I tend to believe that this period for Italy is another flash in the pan as was the case when Dominguez was playing for them. Lets not forget they beat Ireland back in those heady days but we progressed and they have fallen back. Why??


              They do not have a structure under the National team and if they continue to allow players go to France and England to play they will be back to square one. Unlike Argentina who let their players ply their trade in Europe they do not have the converyor belt of new young players coming through in Italy as is the case of Argentina. Italy must look at the Irish/Welsh club model and keep their players in Italy in the clubs and try to get a place in the Magners Leagueif they are to sustain progress Internationally. The Italians might also get to like Irish Cider which wouldbegood for Irish exports[img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]


              [img]smileys/c&#111;nfused.gif[/img]
              Excellence is hard to keep quite - Sherrie Coale

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                #8
                as soon as they draft in some backs from their youth Italy will start winning games on a more consistent basis.

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                  #9
                  good luck to them-although they struggled against the french they looked handy in the first half against us. they may take the english next season
                  If the lessons of history teach us anything it is that nobody learns the lessons that history teaches us.

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                    #10
                    They'll be even more formidable next season, i wouldn't fancy the english in rome.....

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