FIRL Press Releases

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From FIRL media

The presentation of the Italian National Rugby League squad took place on board the MSC Musica today, 9th October 2011

With the presentation of partners MSC Crociere, San Marco Petroli, and the participation of Mr Dino Ponchio, president of the Padova Provincial committee of C.O.N.I. which has given its support of the event organised by F.I.R.L. The Italian Rugby XIII presented their new official kit which was designed by Errea, official technical sponsor, and announced at the press conference the official opening of the 2013 World Cup qualifications.


The press conference was opened by Mr Cuomo, who before introducing the company MSC cruise liners, introduced the commander of the cruise liner Musica who wished the Italian side all the best for their World cup qualifiers.

Mr Cuomo on behalf of the MSC outlined the quality of services offered to tourists on board their cruise liners and the itineraries offered by the MSC group, of which one of the next proposed itineraries will be to Australia.

At the end of his speech, Mr Cuomo related the words of Mr Bertoldero “ We are proud to support the Italian national Rugby league side, who will fly the colours of Italy throughout the world” declared Massimo Bertoldero, Tirveneto area manager for MSC cruise liners said. “ Its important to have projects within the sporting movement in our country, in this case with a young sport but already with a lot of success and interest within the public. Sport is discipline and determination, with the ability to grow and work in a team environment and to follow common goals. Our company fully shares the values linked to the sporting culture and we are sure that thanks to the dedication, tenacity and work the team can overcome the most difficult challenges”.


MSC Musica, the cruise liner that today hosted the team presentation is equipped with 1.259 cabins and can transport 3.000 passengers with more than 1.000 crew members. It has 22.000 mq of public space with 4 restaurants, 3 pools, 6 spa pools, a number of bars, a theatre with 1.240 seats and an 1.160 mq area dedicated to spa and health facilities.

Following the MSC presentation, the President of the Federation Italian Rugby League (F.I.R.L) Tiziano Franchini, spoke of the recent successes that the Italian Rugby League movement has accomplished, he then introduced to the audience, head coach of the national side Carlo Napolitano, who spoke in great detail about the World Cup qualifications, the Italian european pool which will take the winner to compete in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup in Great Britain.

The Italian Rugby league squads calendar is as follows:

ITALY vs RUSSIA, Stadio Del Plebiscito, Padova 15 October 2011 (direct on SPORTITALIA, at 15:00);

SERBIA vs ITALIA, Belgrade, 23 October 2011;

LEBANON vs ITALY, Belgrade, 29 October 2011.

Carlo Napolitano described the undertaking of the national side and also introduced, the captain of the Azzurri Anthony Minichiello.

Minichiello, plays for the Sydney Roosters and is a representative of his province NSW, voted the best rugby league player in 2005 (golden boots), he spoke about the Azzurri league side as a team that has collected players with a lot of experience, coming from the best professional championship in the world (NRL e Superleague) and players coming from the Campionato Italiano of Serie A RL.

Anthony, confirmed the fact that he had already worn the Italian jersey, in 1999, in another tournament for the qualification of the world cup. On that occasion Minichiello and the team didn’t qualify for the 2000 World cup, and he feels that this time the the team must qualify so he can finish the work he started and take Italy to the world cup.

President Mr Franchini, then introduced San Marco Petroli the main sponsor for the match Saturday 15 October 2011, ITALIA vs RUSSIA.

Representing San Marco Petroli, Mr Piscopello, explained the reason why their company decided to sponsor the Italian Rugby League side, he spoke about the intrinsic values of rugby, associated with the speed and intensity tropically associated with Rugby league.


Mr Dino Ponchio, president of the Padova Provincial committee of C.O.N.I, who gave their support to the game between Italia vs Russia, explained that Rugby league was in vogue in the late 1950’s in the Padova area and he wished the F.I.R.L all the best with their involvement and development of Rugby League in Veneto and all throughout Italy, he wished the federation the best in reaching their objective of being recognised by C.O.N.I in the shortest time possible.

In conclusion, the F.I.R.L presented to the audience and the press, the official team jersey which will be worn by the national side during the world cup qualification tournament.

The F.I.R.L would like to thank their partners, MSC Crociere, SAN MARCO PETROLI, PERONI, CONSORZIONE TERME ABANO E MONTEGROTTO, ERREA’, and invite everyone to support the Azzuri Rugby league side at the game SAN MARCO PETROLI ITALIA vs RUSSIA Saturday 15 October 2011, at 15:00 held at the stadium Plebiscito of PPadova, in case you are not able to be present the game you will be able to watch the game directly on SPORTITALIA at 15.00.


From Phil Caplan

Italy’s rugby league squad, arguably the strongest the Azzurri have ever fielded, has assembled in Padova a week before the launch of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup European Zone qualifiers.

Led by 2005 Golden Boot winner Anthony Minichiello, Carlo Napolitano’s squad was presented to local dignitaries, the regional head of CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee, and sponsors on board the MSC Musica.

“It’s great to be putting on the blue jersey again,” said Minichiello, who started his senior representative career with Italy in 1999, during the qualifying tournament for the 2000 Rugby League World Cup. Thirteen years later, he feels he’s here to finish what he started. “I played in 1999 and we didn’t get the job done; this time round we want to create history and make the World Cup.”

That tournament, which also featured France, Morocco and Lebanon, was won by the Lebanese, and the two seasoned nations are on a collision course to meet again in what could well be a winner-takes-all clash on 29th October in the Makis Stadium, Belgrade as part of a double header; the host Serbians facing Russia in what will also be the decider in the Milan Kosanovic Cup.

Italy begin their campaign in the Stadio Communale del Plebiscito in Padova on Saturday against Russia, a game that will be broadcast live on Sportitalia and sponsored by San Marco Petroli.

“Being a captain is a very proud moment for me,” continued the Sydney Roosters full-back. “My job is just to make sure we all come together and do not get ahead of ourselves – we have to play each game to the best of our ability.”

The quality of the current vintage, which features players from the NRL, NSW Cup, Super League, French Elite leagues, and Italy’s Serie A, has certainly made an impression on Minichiello. “I think the squad that Carlo has assembled is one of the best. The next three games are going to be tough but we are confident we can get the job done. At this stage we are getting to know each other and we will be working out our style of play in the next few days.”

Following the Russia match Italy heads to Serbia for 11-days, during which Serbia and Italy will meet for the first time since the 2009 European Cup 5th / 6th place play-off, which created a considerable rivalry between the two nations.

“We don’t know too much about the other sides at this stage,” Minichiello added. “But just listening to the boys talking about the other teams I think it will be a good challenge for us.”


ITALY vs RUSSIA, Stadio Del Plebiscito, Padova 15 October 2011. 1500 hrs

SERBIA vs ITALIA, Belgrade, 23 October 2011; 1400 hrs

LEBANON vs ITALY, Belgrade, 29 October 2011. 1430 hrs


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