Top10 (rugby union)

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Top10
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2020–21 Top10 season
Peroni Top10 Alternate Logo.jpg
FormerlyDivisione Nazionale
Serie A
Serie A1
Super 10
Eccellenza
Top12
SportRugby union
Founded1929; 92 years ago (1929)
Inaugural season1928
Owner(s)Federazione Italiana Rugby
No. of teams12
CountryItaly
Most recent
champion(s)
Calvisano
Most titlesAmatori Milano (18 titles)
TV partner(s)Federazione Italiana Rugby (Live Streams on Facebook)
Sponsor(s)Peroni
Relegation toSerie A
International cup(s)European Rugby Challenge Cup
European Rugby Continental Shield
Related
competitions
Coppa Italia

The Top10, known as the Peroni Top10 for sponsorship reasons, and formerly Top 12, is Italy's top level professional men's rugby union competition. The Top 10 is run by Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR) and is contested by 10 teams as of the 2019-2020 season, following the Italian federation's decision to name Peroni as the official partner of the Top10 competition.

The leading teams qualify to play against teams from the other leading rugby union nations in Europe in the European Challenge Cup. Aironi and Benetton Treviso began competing in the league now known as Pro14 in the 2010–11 season, and took both Italian places in the Heineken Cup. Owing to financial problems, the FIR revoked Aironi's professional licence after the 2011–12 season; that team was replaced in Pro12 by the FIR-operated Zebre. From 2014–15, one of the two Italian Pro12 sides competes in the Heineken Cup's replacement, the European Rugby Champions Cup; the other plays in the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Both Pro12 teams are intended to concentrate the best domestic talent and help develop the quality of Italian players and therefore improve the talent pool for the national team.

History[edit]

Names of the Italian National Rugby Championship
Divisione Nazionale 1928–29 until 1945–46
Serie A 1945–46 until 1959–60; ​1965–66 until 1985–86
Serie A1 1986–87 until 2000–01
Super 10 2001–02 until 2009-10
Eccellenza 1960–61 until 1964–65; ​2010–11 until 2017–18
Top12 2018–2019
Top10 2020–present
The former logo of the Eccellenza championship between 2010 and 2018.

The competition was originally named Divisione Nazionale since its origin in 1928 until the 1945–46 season where the name of the National Championship was changed to the Serie A. Upon 1959, the competition's name was changed was changed to the Eccellenza before becoming the Serie A once again 26 years after in 1985. However, shortly after the name change, in 1986 the Serie A became the Serie A1 with the second tier taking the name of the Serie A2.

Since the 1987–88 season, the championship has been played under a play-off phase format after a regular season with the title being assigned through a final (several cities to have hosted finals include Padua, Bologna and Rome). After a major restructuring in 2001, the national championship was named Super 10 leaving the Serie A1 and Serie A2 to become the second and third divisions of Italian rugby respectively. Upon the 2009–10 season, the Super 10 champiobship which was founded (in 2001) and operated by the L.I.R.E. (Lega Italiana Rugby d'Eccellenza) (Italian Elite Rugby Union League in Italian) had folded in 2009, the Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR) had taken over organising the championship.

The name of championship was changed once again to the Eccellenza for the 2010-11 season. After 8 years of the Eccellenza, the competition was increased to 12 teams and was rebranded as the Top12.[1]

Upon the year 2010, the then known Celtic League (now the Pro14) had decided to expand their competition to 12 teams and add two Italian teams, one of them being Benetton Treviso (which would mean they would stop participating in the Super 10 and another being Aironi (a newly founded team that was later replaced by Zebre in the 2012-2013 season of the Pro 12 after folding due to financial reasons and having its license revoked by the Italian Rugby Federation).

The competition's name was changed from Top 12 to Top 10 in 2020 when teams I Medicei and San Donà withdrew their participation.[2]

Current teams[edit]

Locations of teams in the 2020–21 Top10. (Teams marked with a green dot compete in the Pro14 league).

The leading title holder is Amatori Milano who have won eighteen titles (the first one in 1929, the most recent in 1996) before being disbanded in 2011; Benetton Treviso follow with fifteen (first in 1956 as Rugby Treviso); Petrarca (rugby union club from Padua that won their first title in 1970) with thirteen and Rovigo (first title in 1951) who won twelve titles. Apart from the aforementioned teams no one has won more than five titles. The team that wins the Italian championship wears the Scudetto on their jerseys the following season, The clubs that hold at least ten titles win the right to wear a golden star on their jerseys.

Celtic League participation[edit]

Despite rising playing standards and more media attention on rugby union, Italian teams competing in the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup have generally struggled to compete against the established club teams of the other Six Nations countries. In response both John Kirwan, the former Italian head coach, and David Pickering, the Welsh Rugby Union chairman, suggested that merged Italian teams should enter the Celtic League, now known as Pro14,[3][4] and in March 2009 the Celtic Rugby Board and FIR announced an agreement in principle to add two Italian teams to the Magners League for 2010–11.[5] The two teams were intended to offer Italian qualified players a higher standard of rugby to hone their skills. It removed the best Italian players from the top tier league, and it was envisaged that the Super 10 would be a semi-professional league.

On 18 July 2009 it was announced that the two Magners League teams would be the newly formed Aironi, based in Viadana, and "Praetorians Roma", from the capital. As of October 2009, there was a change and it was announced the two teams will be Aironi and Benetton Treviso. Praetorians Roma were nominated in the first round but failed to meet the criteria set down by the evaluators and Benetton Treviso took their place. These new sides will also played in the Heinken Cup and Italy retained its four places in the Challenge Cup, which were taken by top Super 10 teams, become Eccellenza, orphan of Benetton Treviso and Viadana.

After the 2011–12 season, the first for the league under the Pro12 name, the FIR revoked the licence of Aironi due to financial problems. That team was replaced in Pro12 by a new FIR operated side, Zebre.

Beginning in the 2014–15 season, the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup will be replaced by a new three-tiered European competition structure: the Heineken Cup will be replaced by the European Rugby Champions Cup, the European Challenge Cup will be replaced by the European Rugby Challenge Cup, and a new third-tier Qualifying Competition will be added. The highest-placed Italian Pro12 side automatically qualifies for the Champions Cup, the other Pro12 side will compete in the new Challenge Cup unless it qualifies for the Champions Cup by being one of the three highest-placed teams apart from the top team of each Pro12 country (Italy, Ireland, Scotland, Wales). Select sides from the Excellence will play in the Qualifying Competition, to be held before the main season. Along with club sides from second-tier European rugby nations, the Eccellenza sides will compete for two places in the new European Rugby Challenge Cup with 4 teams. From the 2016–17 season the third-tier is named European Rugby Continental Shield.

Format[edit]

Currently the Italian senior leagues are structured in the following way:

  • Top12 made up of 12 teams; the first four go into the playoff stage and the winner is the "Champion of Italy"; the last two classified are relegated in Serie A.
  • Serie A: is the second level of Italian rugby union, divided in 3 same-rank territorial pools of 10 teams each, who play each other home and away. There are 4 relegations in Serie B, scheduled for the 3 teams that end the season in 10th place in their own pool and one of the three teams ranked 9th after a mini-playout. With the same scheme are organized the 4 promotions to Top12: the three teams that win their own pool automatically qualify for the finals, reached by one of the second teams after a mini-round of playoff. The finals, played home and away, are used to determine the two teams promoted to Top12.
  • Serie B: divided in 4 same-rank territorial pools of 12 teams each, who play each other home and away. A playoff stage determines the 4 teams promoted to Serie A and a playout stage the 8 teams relegated in Serie C.
  • Serie C: is the very 4th tier of Italian rugby union, divided into regional divisions. A playoffs stage determines the 8 teams that are promoted to Serie B.

Past winners[edit]

Finals[edit]

Season Champion Score Runner-up
2001–02 Arix Viadana 19–12 Ghial Calvisano
2002–03 Benetton Treviso 34–12 Ghial Calvisano
2003–04 Benetton Treviso 22–10 Ghial Calvisano
2004–05 Ghial Calvisano 25–20 Benetton Treviso
2005–06 Benetton Treviso 17–12 Ghial Calvisano
2006–07 Benetton Treviso 28–24 (a.e.t) Arix Viadana
2007–08 Cammi Calvisano 20–3 Benetton Treviso
2008–09 Benetton Treviso 29–20 Montepaschi Viadana
2009–10 Benetton Treviso 16–12 Montepaschi Viadana
2010–11 Carrera Petrarca Padova 18–14 Femi-CZ Rovigo Delta
2011–12 Cammi Calvisano 43–36 Estra I Cavalieri Prato
2012–13 Marchiol Mogliano 16–11 Estra I Cavalieri Prato
2013–14 Cammi Calvisano 26–17 Femi-CZ Vea Rovigo Delta
2014–15 Cammi Calvisano 11–10 Femi-CZ Rovigo Delta
2015–16 Femi-CZ Rovigo Delta 20–13 Calvisano
2016–17 Patarò Calvisano 43–29 Femi-CZ Rovigo Delta
2017–18 Petrarca 19–11 Patarò Calvisano
2018–19 Calvisano 33–10 Rovigo Delta

Performance by club[edit]

Club Winners Winning Years
Amatori Milano 18 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1946, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996
Benetton Treviso 15 1956, 1978, 1983, 1989, 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010
Petrarca 13 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 2011, 2018
Rovigo 12 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1976, 1979, 1988, 1990, 2016
Calvisano 7 2005, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019
Rugby Roma Olimpic 5 1935, 1937, 1948, 1949, 2000
L'Aquila 5 1967, 1969, 1981, 1982, 1994
Fiamme Oro 5 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1968
Parma 3 1950, 1955, 1957
Partenope 2 1965, 1966
Mogliano 1 2013
Viadana 1 2002
Brescia 1 1975
Ginnastica Torino 1 1947

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "CONSIGLIO FIR: TOP12, IL MASSIMO CAMPIONATO CAMBIA NOME" (Press release) (in Italian). Federazione Italiana Rugby. 21 July 2018. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Terremoto Rugby: non sarà Top 12, ma Top 10, rinunciano San Donà e I Medicei" [Rugby earthquake: no longer Top 12 but Top 10, San Donà and I Medicei abandon] (in Italian). Ogliopo News. 25 August 2020. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  3. ^ Top-level Italian exports threaten to damage domestic product
  4. ^ Pickering: We have to improve league
  5. ^ "Celtic door opens up for Italy". Scrum.com. 26 March 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2009.

External links[edit]