Pettinelli, captain Italy A: “We are all hungry. I want Twickenham “

A Venetian, who is growing enormously at Benetton, on Saturday he will lead the new selection in Madrid: “For me it is the season of a qualitative leap, I want to be in the running for the national team. I am a multipurpose who loves to be in the game. Sgorlon taught me a lot. I dream of the Six Nations and a World Cup “

Simone Battaggia


If his surname, Pettinelli, is pronounced in his Venice and Mestre, people think of sport. “Yes, I come from the sportswear family. Grandfather had him in the historic center, his brother on the mainland. Let’s say we have this world in our blood ”. From here to think that Giovanni could have made his way in rugby to become captain of Italy A who will relaunch his story on Saturday with a challenge against Spain in Madrid (4.45 pm, direct Fir social channels), but he passes. Twenty-five years old, Benetton’s third line, Pettinelli is playing games of enormous quality. Omnipresent in the game on the ground, tremendously effective at tackling, very useful in touch even as a jumper, on 16 October against the Ospreys he was elected man of the match after a game in which he followed the ball like a hound, never more than a meter from the heart of the game. Pettinelli is a very useful player, of enormous effectiveness. “I am living this season with the desire to make the definitive leap in quality – attacks the third line of Treviso -. I’m hungry, I want to play and to establish myself, in Treviso and who knows, even in the senior national team. Putting competition into the role. Of course, we are not few in the third line, but we have to start from the club and I’m trying to push as much as possible “.

And how did you experience the call with Italy A?

“Every call is a source of pride. I feel enthusiasm and honor ”.

The impression is that in this Italy A there is a lot of future for the senior national team.

“The number of competitive kids has grown. A is an opportunity for many to grow the movement as well as the personal game. Spain will not be an easy game: there are many guys playing in Pro D2, professional people. And with Uruguay (November 14 in Padua, ed) it will be the same “.

When did you start playing?

“At 13-14, relatively late. But it was love at first sight. There was a family tradition, dad Paolo played at Petrarca up to the age of 28, a little in Serie A and a little at Tre Pini. He made me try all the sports right up and in the end he made me choose the one I liked. First steps at VeneziaMestre, then I went to the zonal academies, then to the “Ivan Francescato”. Two years in Calvisano and now in Treviso, now in its fourth year “.

Have you already been captain?

“Yes, with Italy under 17 and under 18 and sometimes with Treviso”.

How do you play this role?

“I believe that a captain must understand and anticipate the needs of the group, set an example first and foremost on the pitch. The starting point is to do your job in the best possible way during the game ”.

Play in different positions. Which one do you feel most hers?

“I consider myself a polyvalent, I believe that in enlarged spaces with the ball in hand I can make a difference”.

“Rugby today goes beyond the jersey number, 6 0 7, for how I like to interpret the game. I am present in defense, in touch, I love to play superiority. I want to be decisive ”.

As National A you are at the beginning, you have had few opportunities to train. At what point are you?

“Many of us come from franchises, ambition is obvious. We do not work on stimulation but on organization, on game structures “.

Will your team and Crowley’s have anything in common?

“We didn’t have time to look for this type of superstructure. No such foundations have yet been laid. We are in a bubble due to Covid, the two groups have not been close. Certainly the idea is to widen the basin of the senior national team as much as possible, so there may be some transition between this team and the other “.

“I am graduating in Law in Parma, I am missing a year”.

“First I want to take away a lot of satisfaction in the sports field. It was a very specific life choice that is giving me many joys. You have to live it all, time passes quickly “.

“Seeing the boys arriving in the first team, people of 18, 19, 20 years old. Time flies, you have to enjoy everything “.

Who helped you the most in your journey?

“Massimo Brunello was my coach for a long time, with the national team as well as in Calvisano. Ciro Sgorlon on the technique of the role gave me a lot in the Academy. He taught me a lot about running lines, both in defense to be in position, and in attack to anticipate the timing of support. And then Marco Bortolami. In the last 3-4 years he has helped me a lot in interpreting touches and playing forwards ”.

Call the touche in Treviso?

“I am not the designated one, but if necessary I can do it”.

He spoke of satisfactions to be taken away in rugby. Which?

“Two. Playing in the Six Nations, maybe at Twickenham: I know it’s very hard, but I think you remember every moment of a match like that. And then play a World Cup ”.

Have you prepared the speech for Saturday?

“I’m going off the cuff. I believe that concise and clear messages should be given during preparation. Before entering the field, however, emotions come out “.

How do you see Capuozzo, the end of Grenoble on his debut?

“He has good aerobic skills, undoubtedly. There has been a lot of talk about him, he is living it as an opportunity, he has a great desire to demonstrate ”.

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Pettinelli, captain Italy A: “We are all hungry. I want Twickenham ”