RBS Six Nations – Italy Rugby Matches and Tickets 2014

Michael 24/10/2012 no comments »
RBS Six Nations – Italy Rugby Matches and Tickets 2014

Italy Head Coach Jacques Brunel and World Class Captain Sergio Parisse ensured Italy enjoyed a good Six Nations tournament in 2013, equalling their best Championship finish in the process. They will be looking to better this when their 2014 campaign gets underway on the 1st February.

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The 2013 Six Nations Championship ended relatively successfully for the Italians, as their 22-15 win over Ireland in Rome on the last weekend of the tournament ensured they finished in fourth place, and was their best tournament performance since 2007. There were plenty of other positives as the Azzuri showed they are now extremely competitive and are improving every year. This is in part due to the fact that some of their players now play in the French Top Fourteen and the Aviva Premiership every season thus playing at a consistently high standard. In addition their regional sides, namely Zebre and Treviso both compete in the RaboDirect Pro Twelve against their Irish and Welsh counterparts so the young Italian players coming through the ranks start playing at a high level against the players they would face in the Six Nations, thus improving the National side as a consequence.

Wales v Italy – February 1st, 2014

The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff is the venue for the start of the 2014 Tournament for the Italians as they face the Welsh Rugby Union on the 1st of February. This is a tough start for the Azzuri as Wales are the holders and playing them in the cauldron of Cardiff is a monumental task, as the English found out in 2013. Italy will be looking for their first win over the Welsh since their 23-20 success back in 2007 at the Stadio Flaminio, so it looks a tough assignment for the Azzuri. The Welsh have some fantastic players in their ranks, with George North, Alex Cuthbert, Jamie Roberts and Scrum Half Mike Phillips providing the strike power in the backs. In addition their forward pack is up there with the best in World Rugby, as Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones and Dan Lydiate are class performers amongst others available to Coach Warren Gatland.

France v Italy – February 9th, 2014

Next up for the Italians is another away fixture, namely a trip to Paris to face the French Rugby Union in what looks like another tough assignment for the Azzuri. The French will be fuming after this fixture last year as they were beaten in Rome by 23 points to 18, which started their worst Tournament performance for numerous years. France therefore ended the 2013 Championship joint bottom of the standings and will be keen to get back to their imperious best come 2014. They have some brilliant players at their disposal, with Yoann Huget, Vincent Clerc, Florian Fritz, Wesley Fofana, and Maxime Medard in the backs. Like the Welsh, France’s forwards are top quality with class players such as Thomas Domingo, Benjamin Kayser, Nicolas Mas, Thierry Dusautoir and Louis Picamoles all available to French Coach Philippe Saint-Andre.

Italy v Scotland – February 22nd, 2014

Italy will be back at home for the third match of the Tournament when they welcome Scotland to Rome. The Italians will be looking for revenge for the 34-10 mauling inflicted by the Scots at Murrayfield last year. Scotland had a good Championship in 2013 finishing in third place in the final standings with two wins against Ireland in Dublin and the above mentioned thrashing of the Italians in Edinburgh. They have some fantastic players in their squad with backs Stuart Hogg and Sean Maitland providing the finishing touches, whilst the forwards include Kelly Brown, Ritchie Gray and David Denton.

Ireland v Italy – March 8th, 2014

Next up for Italy will be a trip to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin for match day four against Ireland, who will be gunning for retribution after their 22-15 loss to the Azzuri in 2013. Ireland had a poor 2013 Tournament finishing joint bottom of the standings as their lengthy injury list took its toll on their performances, and this has led in part to change in the coaching set up with Leinster Coach Joe Schmidt taking over from Declan Kidney. The Irish Rugby Union will hope to have some of their stalwarts back for the 2014 Tournament and have some brilliant players at their disposal, including Jamie Heaslip, Cian Healy, and Stephen Ferris adding the power in the forwards. on the other side of the team there is Connor Murray, Simon Zebo and Tommy Bowe alongside legendary centre Brian O’Driscoll providing the running in the back division.

Italy v England – March 15th, 2014

Last up in the forthcoming 2014 Six Nations Tournament is the game against England in Rome, which is always a fantastic occasion and the Italians will be hoping to finally gain a victory against the Red Rose nation for the first time. The Azzuri pushed England all the way in the corresponding fixture last year at Twickenham, with the home side eventually running out 18-11 victors. This means that Italy should be confident of pushing them once more and this time they have the home advantage, so it should be a great end to the 2014 Championship. England also have some great players to call upon, with backs Chris Ashton, Owen Farrell and Ben Youngs providing the strike threats, whilst the forwards include Dan Cole, Tom Croft and Geoff Parling amongst other class acts up front.

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Rival

The Six Nations Championship has improved since the inclusion of the Italians back in the year 2000, and they have added a new dimension to the Tournament. Their main rivals have tended to be Scotland and France, with their best victories coming against them over the years.

Stadium

For the majority of their Six Nations span, 2000-2011, Italy played at the Stadio Flaminio. Its capacity is 32,000 but one of the main reasons for the Rugby International move was that the renovation wasn’t carried out. Italy moved for the 2012 Six Nations to the Stadio Olympico. It’s capacity is 73,261 and is also shared with Lazio and A.S. Roma football clubs.

Six Nations 2013

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Italy is the lowest ranked team in the competition lying in 11th. They have struggled to get a grip on the Six Nations since their entry into the competition 13 years ago. They performed more competitively last time out and produced displays that worried opposition. They ended up with a single win in 2012. Current coach is Jacques Brunel and captain of the team is well-known Sergio Parisse. The 29 year old every game for Italy puts in everything to his performances, leading from the front. Italy has become more competitive in recent years, winning the Guiseppi Garibaldi Trophy in 2011, contested against France every Six Nations. They will be out to claim back the trophy in 2013. With a reasonably aged squad, Italy will look turn to experience from players such as Bergamasco and Masi to drive them forward in their battle to prove they are a side to be feared. Italy won’t want to take a step back and earn the Wooden Spoon, and will be looking to improve on their 2 points from 2012.

History

May 1929 is the first recorded International match Italy played, losing against Spain in Barcelona 9-0. Just as it did with other rugby international teams, the Second World War disrupted the progress of the Italian Union team. After the war, Italian Rugby Union wanted to go back to normal and so with the help of Allied troops, Italy entered a new dimension. The years of the 1970’s and 1980’s attracted some big names in the game of rugby, and some very good top coaches and still does. Big names such as Naas Botha and David Campese were attracted to play in the Italian championship. In 1973 the national side toured South Africa with head coach being an ex-Springbok, Amos Du Plooey. A tour of England and Scotland soon followed, and they also had fixtures against the top of the game, New Zealand and Australia. The Italian national team started their pursuit of adding to the Five Nations championship in 1980, after consistently good results against teams such as Romania, Spain and Georgia, and had the occasional win against a Home Nation team. In 1987, the Azzuri (the Blues) were one of the teams to participate in the first every World Cup.

The 1990’s were years to remember for the Italians, they would prove to have a formidable squad that beat numerous Five Nations teams. They beat Ireland back to back, France and Scotland. Finally in 2000, Italy was omitted to the Five Nations, creating the Six Nations Championship. Italy made full use of the IRB change in rules, which allowed teams to play players who have ancestry or have lived in that particular country for a period of 3 years. Italy, as well as the other nations took full advantage of this, however, the Italians because of development in their own leagues, only listed 3 non-Italian born players. In 2005 they finished bottom once again of the Six Nations table, and failed to win a single game again. In 2006, they went one further and won a very credible point away in Wales. In 2007, Italy did the double over Wales in controversial fashion. Bergamasco scored a try to put the scores at 23-20, and as the Welsh team kicked for touch to go for a try, the referee blew his whistle and brought the game to an end. 2011 was the best Six Nations of the Italian history, as they won the Guiseppe Garibaldi Trophy from France for the first time as well as being their first ever victory over France in the championship. In 2012, Italy beat Scotland to avoid finishing last.

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