Italy national rugby league team
|Governing body||Federazione Italiana Rugby League|
|Head coach||Cameron Ciraldo
Kelly Rolleston (domestic)
|Most caps||Gioele Celerino, Matthew Sands (16)|
|Top try-scorer||Richard Lepori (12)|
|Top point-scorer||Josh Mantellato (88)|
|Home stadium||Stadio Plebiscito|
| Wigan 49–28 Italy
(Central Park, Wigan; 26 August 1950)
| Italy 15–37 Australia
(Stadio Euganeo, Padua; 23 January 1960)
| Italy 94–4 Spain
(Campo Sportivo Manta, Saluzzo; 10 June 2017)
| Italy 0–104 Scotland
(Stadio Plebiscito, Padua; 17 October 2009)
|Appearances||1 (first time in 2013)|
|Best result||Group stage, 2013|
The Italy national rugby league team represents Italy in rugby league football. With origins dating back to the 1950s and 60s, the team has competed regularly in international competitions since 2008, when their current governing body, the Federazione Italiana Rugby League, was formed. They are currently ranked 14th in the RLIF World Rankings.
|Official Rankings as of May 2017|
|15||Papua New Guinea|
In 1950, a team from Turin tours the North of England. Italy later runs a domestic competition. A year later the first official match of the Italian national team took place in Cahors, France. Italy lost 29–17 although the Azzurri ended the first half leading 10–7.
Sixteen official matches were played against English teams in the season 1952–53, as well as a triangular tournament between Italy, France and England.
In 1958, in Treviso under the Italian Federation of Amateur Rugby 13 (FIAR 13) was formed and was recognised by the Rugby Football League. With this recognition and funding from England, the sport of rugby league became popular in Italy. In their first year, the FIAR had 24 clubs and 620 players.
In 1960, Italy played Australia in two international matches held in Italy, the results were 37–15 and 67–22 losses. In the late 1960s, threats made by the rugby union governing body Italian Rugby Federation to ban players who played rugby league from their sport had the effect of killing off the sport in Italy by the 1970s. As a consequence the Italian national team ceased to exist.
In the mid-1990s the team were revived by two Italian-Australians, Domenic Pezzano and John Benigni, known as 'The Italian Rugby League A XIII' (IRL A XIII) was formed in 1993. Pezzano coached Italy in the Coca-Cola Rugby League World Sevens in Australia with the team being predominately players from Italy and one Italo-Australian player captained the team – Orazio D'arro in this tournament, Pezzano also coached the Italian team that participated in the first ever Super League World Nines tournament which was hosted by Fiji, that team was made up off Italian players, Italian Origin players and included 1st Graders such as Dean Schifilliti, Mark Corvo, Luke Davico and Italian dual International Orazio Arancio.
After that event, the Italia Rugby League began competing in various international tournaments, such as the Super League rugby league nines tournament in Fiji, World Sevens, St.Marys Sevens, Wollogong Sevens and the Mediterranean Cup in 1999. They attempted to qualify for the 2000 Rugby League World Cup and ended up in the Rugby League Emerging Nations Tournament in which they were runners-up to British Amateur Rugby League Association.
In 2002, the Azzurri were back playing internationals in Italy with a triangular tournament featuring Scotland and Russia. Italy lost to Tartarstan of Russia but tied their second game with Scotland 16 all. In 2003 Italy played Scotland again and contested the Ionio Cup against Greece, which they won.
Italy won the RLEF European Shield in 2008 and 2009, and as such were drafted into the 2009 European Cup following Russia's withdrawal from the tournament. During this tournament, Italy were handed their record defeat by Scotland, but they did manage to record one victory, over Serbia at The Old Parish in Maesteg, Wales.
In Autumn 2010 Italy embarked on a short tour of Wales, culminating in a match in Wrexham on 6 October in which they faced Wales for the first time in a full Rugby League international. The Italian side obtained a remarkable 13–6 victory, the first against a national team of the British Isles.
2013 World Cup qualifying
In 2011, Italy contested the qualifying tournament for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, competing against Russia, Serbia and Lebanon. Coached by Carlo Napolitano and captained by Anthony Minichiello, Italy's draw with Lebanon was enough for them to gain the 14th and final place in the 2013 World Cup.
2013 World Cup
Italy were drawn in Pool C alongside Scotland, Tonga and they also played an inter-group match against co-hosts Wales. Their tournament began with an upset victory over the co-hosts at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. In their second match, the 'Azzuri' took on Scotland who were coming off an upset win of their own against Tonga. The match turned out to be a thriller and it was tight with a high scoring draw being the end result. Italy then had to just win their last pool match against Tonga after Scotland won their match and finished their pool-stage campaign with the same points differential the Italians were currently on. Tonga had nothing but pride to play for after their hopes of qualification had vanished but they shocked Napolitano's men by keeping them scoreless and therefore eliminating Italy from having any chance to play in the 2013 World Cup knockout round.
2017 World Cup qualifying
Italy participated in the qualification for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. The first stage of qualifying involved having to finish in the top 3 in their 2014–15 European Shield competition. Italy only managed to secure qualification for the 'final qualification tournament' after winning their second to last game against bottom placed Ukraine. Italy finished the Shield in third place with 3 wins and 3 defeats in six matches.
The final qualification tournament will consist of 6 teams - the top three teams from the European B tournament, the winners of the European C tournament and seeded nations Wales and Ireland. The tournament will feature two groups of three teams playing in a single round-robin format. The winners of each group will qualify for the World Cup, while the runners-up will face each other in a play-off match on 5 November 2016 to determine the final spot. A seeded draw will take place to determine the groups on 5 November 2015. Italy are placed in Group A alongside European B tournament champions Serbia, and Wales.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Pts||Club|
|Fullback||Cerruto, MasonMason Cerruto||22 January 1996||3||24||Penrith Panthers|
|Fullback||Lepori, RichardRichard Lepori||22 October 1991||8||48||Oldham Roughyeds|
|Fullback||Tedesco, JamesJames Tedesco||8 January 1993||3||4||Wests Tigers|
|Wing||Castellaro, JustinJustin Castellaro||7 September 1990||3||12||Northern Pride|
|Wing||Centrone, ChrisChris Centrone||24 July 1991||6||12||Wyong Roos|
|Wing||Mantellato, JoshJosh Mantellato||21 April 1987||8||88||Wyong Roos|
|Centre||Bergamasco, MircoMirco Bergamasco||23 February 1983||5||48||Leoni Veneti|
|Centre||Calegari, ChristopheChristophe Calegari||3 June 1984||9||12||Palau XIII Broncos|
|Centre||Milone, NathanNathan Milone||18 March 1994||0||0||Wests Tigers|
|Centre||Wilkie, ColinColin Wilkie||13 September 1986||3||12||Northern Pride|
|Five-eighth||Campese, TerryTerry Campese||4 August 1984||3||34||Queanbeyan Blues|
|Five-eighth||Johns, JackJack Johns||15 October 1997||0||0||Newcastle Knights|
|Halfback||Ghietti, RyanRyan Ghietti||22 July 1989||9||9||Northern Pride|
|Prop||Alvaro, DanielDaniel Alvaro||28 May 1993||0||0||Parramatta Eels|
|Prop||Hiscox, GavinGavin Hiscox||24 August 1988||3||0||Central Queensland Capras|
|Prop||Vaughan, PaulPaul Vaughan||23 April 1991||3||0||St George Illawarra Dragons|
|Prop||Wakeman, ShannonShannon Wakeman||15 February 1990||3||8||Huddersfield Giants|
|Hooker||Tramontana, JosephJoseph Tramontana||15 February 1997||1||0||Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs|
|Second-row||Celerino, GioeleGioele Celerino||4 October 1993||16||38||Tully Tigers|
|Second-row||Minichiello, MarkMark Minichiello (captain)||30 January 1982||3||4||Hull F.C.|
|Second-row||Santi, BrendenBrenden Santi||5 August 1993||6||8||Sydney Roosters|
|Second-row||Walker, JaydenJayden Walker||13 August 1996||4||8||Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks|
|Lock||Brown, NathanNathan Brown||1 March 1993||0||0||Parramatta Eels|
|Lock||Riethmuller, JoelJoel Riethmuller||9 May 1985||9||8||Northern Pride|
- Terry Campese
- Cameron Ciraldo
- Aidan Guerra
- Anthony Laffranchi
- Anthony Minichiello
- Mark Minichiello
- Kade Snowden
- James Tedesco
- Paul Vaughan
Results and fixtures
The Italian team has competed in the following matches and tournaments since the reintroduction of rugby league to the country in the 1990s:
- World Sevens in 1995, 1997, plus the qualification tournament in 2003
- Superleague World Nines in 1996
- Emerging Nations Tournament in 2000
- Ionio Cup vs Greece in 2003 and 2004
- St.Mary's World Sevens - Australia
- Wollongong Sevens - Australia
- Columbus Cup vs United States in 2006
- Australian-Mediterranean Shield in 2009
Since 2008, Italy has competed in the following Test match tournaments:
- European Shield in 2008, 2009, and 2012–13
- European Cup in 2009
- World Cup in 2013 and 2017, and their respective qualifying tournaments held in 2011 and 2016
Italy's kit suppliers are Fi-ta.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Italy national rugby league team.|
- Italia Rugby League History
- RLEF – Italy Profile
- European Cup Relegation Match Report – Italy – Serbia
- Italy V Serbia Match Details
- skysports.com (29 October 2011). "Italy clinch World Cup place". Sky Sports. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "Rugby League World Cup – Gli azzurri". firl.it (in Italian). 11 October 2017.
- "Test Match, l’Italia pareggia 24-24 con Malta a Sydney" (in Italian). Federazione Italia Rugby League. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
- Portoghese, Matteo (19 June 2017). "L’Italia del rugby league si gode il suo momento d’oro" (in Italian). Mondo Sportivo. Retrieved 19 September 2017.