The president after the November tests: “Once we won the game that we had to win, we were straightforward. Exploits take time. There will be a third senior national team. Nobody wants us out of the tournament, 60 million Italians are a value for the CVC. And now an agreement with the FIGC “
And now, which way do we go? What good to take from blue November – if there is something good – to look to the Six Nations 2022 with a hint of optimism, to shake off the feeling of inferiority and distance from the high level further strengthened by the defeats against New Zealand and Argentina and the skimpy victory against Uruguay, while all the European direct competitors conquered excellent scalps? Marzio Innocenti gathers the coach Kieran Crowley, the head of delegation Giorgio Morelli and the high level manager Franco Smith to take stock of what has happened and how to continue.
Innocenti, Smith and Crowley did not refer only to the three matches of the senior national team, but also to the two of Italy A against Spain and Uruguay. “We won the game we had to win, with the All Blacks we played a game that had been missing for some time, with Argentina we encountered logical difficulties from which we have to start again. It was a linear November, to have a non-linear one we have to go beyond our limits. Nature does not jump, however, problems are not solved in an instant. We also fielded a second national team to bring the goal of having 80 players of international level closer – explained Innocenti -. We are happy with how the guys from Troncon reacted to the stimulus, they understood the spirit and worked hard to take the place away from the owners. ” . Small specification: Innocenti clarified that Italy A sided with Spain and Uruguay in Padua was not the “second national”, the one that for World Rugby blocks the players who take part in it. “Every year the Fir indicates to World Rugby which is the second team used for this and last December the past management of the Fir had reported the Emergenti, but then did not deploy it. For 2022 we are considering transferring this role to A and making the “Emergenti” the third team “. This means that Ange Capuozzo, on the pitch against Spain, is not bound (“but he remains a player that interests us, we hope to call him when he is no longer injured”, explains Innocenti), and neither is Entienne Swanepoel, for whom World Rugby had threatened with sanctions for not being eligible in blue because he had not been resident in Italy for three consecutive years. And it also means that the match of 18 December in Parma, Italy Emerging-Romania, will be the only one useful for “binding” players trained abroad to make them wear the blue – and in the case of players from the Top 10, for to make sure that they can play in the league as Italians – before the rules change in January and they need 5 residences and not three: we are talking about Halafihi, number 8 from Treviso. When asked about the fact that before the November tests in Fir it was said that the second “blocking” national team was Italy A, the federal president replied: “I don’t remember”.
“We have 40 matches for the national team to get to France 2023, plus those of the franchises – explained Franco Smith -. In November I noticed a good interaction between Italy and Italy A, a technical affinity. The victories with Spain and Uruguay allowed us to fight the fear of losing. In the meantime, we have collected ideas to understand which playing areas to work on in the next six months, in view of the Six Nations ”. In reality, much of the work will have to be done by the franchises because, as the head of delegation Giorgio Morelli pointed out, “the meeting for the tournament will begin the week before the debut against France”, therefore on Sunday 30 January. “We will do all that is necessary to raise the level – continued Innocenti -. Treviso works at a higher level than the Zebras, it is the Fir’s task to bring the Parma franchise to the same level. And I don’t see why to give up on equals, when there are so many athletes born abroad but with Italian roots who want to play with us. Crowley and Smith who are working.
Don’t hurt yourself
Innocenti then spoke of Italy’s place in the Six Nations: “There is no revision – he cut short -, and then for a Union to come out it takes a period of at least 15 years, in addition to the unanimity of the Council. Nobody wants Italy to leave the Six Nations, quite the contrary. Above all CVC – the investment fund just entered the tournament by buying 1/7 of the shares, ed -, for which 60 million people are an important market. Let’s stop hurting ourselves ”. The federal president then hinted at the high-level training review process. “I am not saying that the system of the Academies has been negative, but behind these structures there are accounts. And the positive results were not what we hoped for, because in fact we are not competitive in the Six Nations. We went to high school, but we miss the university. So once you leave the Academy, either you are Paolo Garbisi, that is a really strong one, and you are already ready for the Pro 14 and to go and play abroad, or you risk losing yourself. Today the guys who came out of Remedello are in Parma, they train with the Zebras then with international level athletes and are trained by international level technicians. The various Neculai and Andreani are growing up like this. We are discussing with Treviso to create a similar structure. Basically, however, Fir cannot ignore what happens first, she must combine what she can do with what the clubs can do. I am the first to say that in the South it is up to Fir to bring high-level training ”.
The agreement with football
“For years we have not been a winning sport but an anthropological phenomenon – continued Innocenti -, which filled the stadiums while always losing. Now maybe that spell is over ”. Innocenti then spoke about the relationship with his predecessors. “Compared to Gavazzi, I can only say that we don’t have much to tell each other and that everyone has their own legacy. Instead, I often call Dondi, we had different ideas, different qualities, but I think he still has something to suggest and that should be listened to ”. Then the announcement of an agreement with the FIGC: “It will concern aspects such as the medical sector and the computerization of systems, but not only. We want to help our clubs that often share spaces with clubs in the area, in this way we hope to create better conditions to carry on the business. And then it would be nice if up to 12-13 years old kids who play rugby also know football and vice versa. This would allow us to have kids who maybe get tired of the ball and who when they come to us already have an idea of what rugby is, as well as skills in the foot that would certainly not disturb “. Finally, an update on Polledri, who has been injured for over a year: “I spoke to him, our medical staff is in contact with that of Gloucester. “After the nerve surgery he is better, the foot responds, he is back to running. We are waiting with confidence and hope that he can return to the level he was before, he is convinced he can do it. Just as Marco Riccioni is convinced to come back stronger than before. His injury was the worst thing of this November ”.
November 29, 2021 (change November 29, 2021 | 17:21)
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Federal n.1 Innocenti: “The 6 Nations is not at risk. But history doesn’t jump ”