Italy national rugby union team

Italy
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Gli Azzurri (The Blues)
Union Federazione Italiana Rugby
Head coach Conor O'Shea
Captain Sergio Parisse
Most caps Sergio Parisse (142)
Top scorer Diego Dominguez (983)
Top try scorer Marcello Cuttitta (25)
Home stadium Stadio Olimpico
First colours
Second colours
World Rugby ranking
Current 12 (as of 21 Oct 2019)
Highest 8 (2007)
Lowest 15 (2015 and 2017)
First international
Spain 9–0 Italy
(Barcelona, 20 May 1929)
Biggest win
Italy 104–8 Czech Republic
(Viadana, 18 May 1994)
Biggest defeat
South Africa 101–0 Italy
(Durban, 19 June 1999)
World Cup
Appearances 9 (First in 1987)
Best result Pool stage, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019
Website www.federugby.it

The Italy national rugby union team is the representative national team in the sport of rugby union for the nation of Italy. The team is known as gli Azzurri (the Blues). Savoy blue is the common colour of the national teams representing Italy, as it is the traditional colour of the royal House of Savoy which reigned over the Kingdom of Italy from 1860 to 1946.

Italy has played international rugby since 1929, and for decades was considered one of the best European teams outside the Five Nations Championship. Since 2000, Italy has competed annually in the Six Nations Championship with England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In 2013, they were holders of the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy which is played annually between Italy and France. Italy is ranked 14th in the world by the IRB as of 30 September 2019.

Italian rugby rose to prominence in 2000 when it was added to the Five Nations, creating the Six Nations. Initially on the receiving end of some heavy defeats, the side has grown in competitiveness, recording a fourth-place finish in 2007 and 2013, and one-sided defeats have become less frequent. The Azzurri have shown respectable results when playing at home in recent years: they defeated France 22–21 in the 2011 Six Nations; and during the 2013 Six Nations, they again beat France 23–18,[1] also defeating Ireland 22–15.[2] However, Italy has not won a Six Nations match since their 22–19 away win against Scotland in Round 3 of the 2015 tournament, losing every game since; this equates to a losing run of 22 matches.

The Italian team has also competed at every Rugby World Cup since the first tournament in 1987, where Italy played the inaugural game against New Zealand, but is yet to progress beyond the first round. The team has developed a reputation for being a consistent middle player at the tournament. Italy's results since the inception of a new group stage formula in 2003 have consistently followed a pattern of two wins and two losses.

The current head coach is Conor O'Shea, and the captain is currently number eight Sergio Parisse.[3]

History

Early history: 1911–34

The first match played by an Italian XV was in 1911 between US Milanese and Voiron of France. On 25 July of the same year the "Propaganda Committee" was formed which in 1928 became the Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR) (Italian Rugby Federation).

In May 1929, Italy played their first international losing 0–9 against Spain in Barcelona. In 1934, Italy was one of the founder members of FIRA, today's Rugby Europe; the others were France, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Catalonia, Romania, Holland and Germany.[4]

1945–85

World War II meant an hiatus for Italian rugby union, as it did in other rugby-playing nations. Post-war, there was a desire to return to normal and Italian rugby union entered a new dimension thanks to the help of Allied troops in Italy.

Lineup of the Italy national rugby union team vs France, 1975

In the 1970s and 1980s rugby union made enormous progress thanks to great foreign players (John Kirwan, Naas Botha, David Campese, Michael Lynagh) and coaches (Julien Saby, Roy Bish, Greenwood, Nelie Smith) in the Italian championship. Even foreign coaches were and continue to be chosen for the national team, like Bertrande Fourcade and Georges Coste. In 1973, the national team went on a tour of South Africa, coached by ex-Springbok prop Amos Du Plooey. Tours of England and Scotland followed, as well as games against Australia and New Zealand, the masters of their day. In 1978, Italy first played Argentina at Rovigo, winning 19–6.

1986–99

Since the mid 1980s, the Italian national side had been pursuing the ambition of playing in an expanded Five Nations Championship. Consistently winning against nations that now play in the European Nations Cup (Romania, Spain, Georgia, etc.), and good results against the major nations such as France, Scotland, Wales and Ireland meant that they were often talked as strong candidates.[5]

In 1986, Italy hosted an England XV squad in Rome, drawing 15–15. The Azzurri took part in the first-ever Rugby World Cup match against New Zealand on 22 May 1987. The match proved a one-sided affair with New Zealand convincing 70–6 winners against a young Italian side. John Kirwan, later to become the Italian national coach, scored one of the tournament's greatest-ever tries for the All Blacks. Italy beat Fiji but lost to Argentina and finished third in their pool, failing to make the finals. In 1988, they played Ireland for the first time.

At the 1991 World Cup, Italy were grouped in a tough pool with the likes of England and the All Blacks. They lost both of these games but beat the USA. Italy first played Wales in 1994. At the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, Italy came close to beating England; losing 20–27, but recovered to beat Argentina. They finished third in their pool again below England and Western Samoa, but above the Argentines.

The current badge on the Italy jersey

The late 1990s saw the Italians build a formidable side and record Test victories over Five Nations opposition. In 1996, a deal between British Sky Broadcasting and the Rugby Football Union meant that England home games were exclusively shown on Sky. England were threatened with being expelled from the Five Nations to be replaced by Italy. This threat was never carried out as a deal was worked out.

In 1996, Italy toured England, Wales and for the first time Scotland, losing all matches. The team recorded two consecutive victories over Ireland in 1997; 37–29 on 4 January, at Lansdowne Road, and 37–22 on 20 December, in Bologna.[6] On 22 March 1997 they recorded their first win over France, 40–32, (in Grenoble). In January 1998, Scotland were the victims with Italy winning 25–21 (in Treviso); in the same year in the Rugby World Cup Qualifiers, they narrowly lost 15–23 against England at Huddersfield, but they argued for a try by Alessandro Troncon disallowed by the referee.[7]

At the 1999 World Cup, Italy were drawn with New Zealand for the third time and lost again. They did not win a single pool match and went home before the knock-out stage.[8]

Six Nations era: 2000–present

Italy vs All Blacks at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium with a record 80,000 sellout crowd, November 2009

Italy finally joined the Six Nations Championship in 2000 but their admission coincided with the departure of some of their best players. Nevertheless, they won their opening game against the reigning champions Scotland 34–20. Thereafter they struggled to compete against the other nations and their participation was called into question. The 2001 and 2002 tournaments were particularly disappointing as they did not win a single game. Coach Brad Johnstone was sacked in 2002 after an alleged show of 'player power'.

John Kirwan was then appointed coach. Italy won two pool games at the 2003 World Cup, defeating both Canada and Tonga, but lost to the All Blacks and Wales. They managed to win their second Six Nations game in 2003, a 30–22 victory over Wales, thus avoiding the wooden spoon. They followed up by winning two games at the World Cup, another first, though the tournament was ultimately disappointing as the Welsh gained revenge with a 27–15 success that meant that Italy were the only Six Nations country not to advance to the knock-out stage. Their third win came against Scotland in 2004.

Italy, along with other nations, had made good use of IRB rules which allowed them to select foreign-born players if they had Italian ancestry or had lived in Italy for a qualifying period of three years. From 2004 they announced that they would only pick three such 'non-Italians' per team in order to develop their own domestic players.

In the 2005 Six Nations Italy finished bottom of the table again and failed to win a single game. Kirwan was sacked and replaced with Pierre Berbizier. Italy then went on a tour of Argentina where they surprised many by beating the Pumas 30–29 and drawing the series 1–1 (the only 2005 victory of a Northern Hemisphere team visiting a Southern Hemisphere team). However, the Pumas had their revenge when they visited Genoa and beat Italy 39–22.

Italy contesting a lineout with Scotland during the 2012 Six Nations

In the 2006 Six Nations Championship the Italian team performed strongly against every team, leading against both England and France in the first half, but lost their first three games. They did, however, get a creditable 18–18 draw away to Wales, their first away point in the tournament, and were unlucky not to draw with Scotland in Rome in the final game, losing 10–13 courtesy of a late Scottish penalty. In the 2007 Six Nations Championship, Italy started poorly, losing to France 3–39. However, Italy's performance improved, and they held England to a 20–7 result at Twickenham. Italy followed with a stunning start to their match at Murrayfield against Scotland, scoring three quick tries to give Italy a 21–0 lead after seven minutes, and the Azzurri went on to a 37–17 victory; their first-ever away win in the Six Nations. Italy's next match was against Wales in Rome, with Italy winning 23–20, for their first consecutive victories in the competition and help them achieve their highest-ever position in the competition. The domestic interest in rugby reached new heights with Italy's new success front page media coverage and the sport being held up as a model of fair play.[9] Media and public interest in the national team was very high during the side's newfound success,[9] despite losing their last game to Ireland. 10,000 fans later greeted the national team at Rome's Piazza del Popolo.[9]

The 2008 Six Nations Championship saw the Italians again finish in last place, albeit by only a three-point margin. They took part in close matches against Ireland, Wales England and France respectively and managed a sole victory, defeating Scotland 23–20 in Rome in the last round of matches.[10] In the summer tests they lost to South Africa but again managed to surprise 3rd ranked Argentina with a 13–12 victory. At the 2008 end of year tour Italy pushed the Wallabies in their clash in Padova, but the Australians eventually went on to win 30–20. A week later the Italians were defeated by Argentina, 14–22.

Italy's 2009 Six Nations campaign was ill-fated almost from the beginning, with both scrum-halves ruled out of the competition before a ball was kicked, and a third alternative ruled out of the opener at England due to injury. Head coach Nick Mallett tried flanker Mauro Bergamasco at scrum-half. Mallett's gamble failed in epic fashion, with Bergamasco's mistakes leading to three England tries before he was replaced at half-time; England went on to win 36–11.[11] In week two Italy also put in a poor performance against Ireland losing 9–38.[12] The two poor performances were followed by another loss to Scotland. The Azzurri were competitive in their 15–20 loss at the Flaminio to a Wales side resting many of its key players for the championship decider against Ireland the next week.[13] Italy finished in last place for the second straight year after losing to France on the final weekend of the tournament.

In the 2010 Six Nations Championship, Italy were well beaten by Ireland 11–29 before narrowly losing to England and defeating Scotland.[14][15] Italy were defeated in their last two matches against France and Wales.[16]

Italian fans on their way to see Italy play Scotland at Murrayfield in the Six Nations Championship, 2013

Italy finished the 2011 Six Nations with a 1–4 record. In the opening match of the 2011 Six Nations, Italy was beaten by Ireland 11–13 at home, with Ireland scoring a drop goal less than two minutes before the final whistle. The Azzurri claimed a 22–21 home victory over the reigning Six Nations champions, France, gaining Italy's first win over France in a Six Nations game.[17] At the final whistle, the English language commentator declared it the greatest win in Italian rugby history thus far.

Italy finished the 2012 Six Nations in fifth place with a 1–4 record, following a 13–6 win over Scotland before over 72,000 fans at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Italy's 15–19 loss to England was their smallest margin of defeat.[18] The championship also saw Italy lose to Wales, Ireland and France.[19]

Italy played three matches in the 2012 November internationals, losing two and winning one. The Italians lost to New Zealand and Australia 19–22, with Italian fly half Luciano Orquera missing a penalty in the last minute which would have secured Italy's first draw against Australia.[20] Italy did manage a win in the series, beating Tonga 28–23.[21]

Italy gained their second Six Nations win over France when they beat them 23–18 on their opening match of the 2013 Six Nations Championship.[22] Three defeats by Scotland, Wales and England followed.[23] On their final game of the championship Italy won against Ireland 22–15 for the first time in a Six Nations match in front of 75,000 fans at the Stadio Olimpico.[24][25] Overall Italy finished fourth,[26] behind Scotland in third on points difference, to make it one of their most successful Six Nations.[27] In November 2013, Italy hosted Australia at Turin for a 20–50 loss, then defeated Fiji 37–31 at Cremona and was defeated by Argentina 14–19 at Rome.

Italy were whitewashed at the 2014 Six Nations Championship, including a 20–21 home loss to Scotland, a 7–46 loss to Ireland and an 11–52 loss to England. In June the team made an Asia-Pacific tour, where they were defeated by Fiji, Japan and Samoa. In November they scored a home win to Samoa, a two-point loss to Argentina and another loss to South Africa.

In the 2015 Six Nations Championship, Italy took a 22–19 away win over Scotland to avoid the wooden spoon, but suffered heavy home losses to France and Wales. The victory against Scotland was their last win in the Six Nations, and they lost all games in the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 tournaments, a losing run of 22 games. At the 2015 Rugby World Cup, they defeated Romania and Canada but lost to Ireland and France, repeating their performance of the previous three editions.

After another poor performance in 2016, losing all their Six Nations matches, Italy hired former Ireland international and Harlequin F.C. coach Conor O'Shea to coach the team; with him they also hired IRFU developmental director Stephen Aboud to direct youth programs aimed at strengthening the level of rugby in the country.[28] In June, the Italian team lost to Argentina and won over the United States and Canada. On 19 November, Italy achieved a famous upset victory by defeating South Africa 20–18 which was Italy's first win against the Springboks in 13 attempts at Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence.[29] This victory also marked their first win over one of the three big Southern Hemisphere nations (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa).

Wins against Tier 1 nations

Date Home Score Away Place
24 October 1978  Italy 19–6  Argentina Stadio Mario Battaglini, Rovigo
6 May 1995  Italy 22–12  Ireland Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso
4 June 1995  Argentina 25–31  Italy Buffalo City Stadium, East London, South Africa
4 January 1997  Ireland 29–37  Italy Lansdowne Road, Dublin
22 March 1997  France 32–40  Italy Stade Lesdiguières, Grenoble
20 December 1997  Italy 37–22  Ireland Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, Bologna
24 January 1998  Italy 25–21  Scotland Stadio Comunale Monigo, Treviso
7 November 1998  Italy 23–19  Argentina Stadio Comunale Beltrametti, Piacenza
5 February 2000  Italy 34–20  Scotland Stadio Flaminio, Rome
15 February 2003  Italy 30–22  Wales Stadio Flaminio, Rome
6 March 2004  Italy 20–14  Scotland Stadio Flaminio, Rome
11 June 2005  Argentina 29–30  Italy Estadio Olímpico, Córdoba
24 February 2007  Scotland 17–37  Italy Murrayfield, Edinburgh
10 March 2007  Italy 23–20  Wales Stadio Flaminio, Rome
15 March 2008  Italy 23–20  Scotland Stadio Flaminio, Rome
28 June 2008  Argentina 12–13  Italy Estadio Olímpico, Córdoba
27 February 2010  Italy 16–12  Scotland Stadio Flaminio, Rome
12 March 2011  Italy 22–21  France Stadio Flaminio, Rome
17 March 2012  Italy 13–6  Scotland Stadio Olimpico, Rome
3 February 2013  Italy 23–18  France Stadio Olimpico, Rome
16 March 2013  Italy 22–15  Ireland Stadio Olimpico, Rome
28 February 2015  Scotland 19–22  Italy Murrayfield, Edinburgh
19 November 2016  Italy 20–18  South Africa Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence

[30][31][32][33][34][35]

Stadium and attendance

Before joining the Six Nations in 2000 Italy did not have a set stadium and played their home matches in various stadiums around Italy. From 2000–2011 Italy played all of their home Six Nations matches at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome. The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) announced, in January 2010, that the stadium would undergo an expansion, that will increase its capacity to 42,000.[36] Continued delays to the start of construction meant that the revamp could not be completed in time for the 2012 Six Nations so all of Italy's home Six Nations games were moved to the Stadio Olimpico, also in Rome.[37] The expansion of the Stadio Flaminio was originally promised to be complete by 2014. It was planned that upon completion of the renovation, the Italian team will move back to the Stadio Flaminio,[38] however little was achieved and as of September 2016 the stadium was still in a state of abandoned disrepair.[39] More Italians are coming to watch rugby union games and whereas before most of the fans at the Stadio Flaminio were away fans, now Italy has a good home crowd.[citation needed] Since moving to the Stadio Olimpico attendances have increased by huge numbers.[40] The Italian team has drawn large crowds since 2008, particularly for Six Nations matches and for matches against New Zealand:

The Stadio Olimpico in Rome, current home of the Italian rugby team
Highest attended home matches
Rank Attendance Opponent Date Venue
1 80,074 New Zealand 14 Nov 2009 San Siro (Milan)
2 80,054 Ireland 16 Mar 2013 Stadio Olimpico (Rome)
3 73,526 Wales 23 Feb 2013 Stadio Olimpico (Rome)
4 73,000 New Zealand 17 Nov 2012 Stadio Olimpico (Rome)
5 72,354 Scotland 17 Mar 2012 Stadio Olimpico (Rome)
6 71,257 England 15 March 2014 Stadio Olimpico (Rome)
7 70,000 England 14 February 2016 Stadio Olimpico (Rome)
8 67,721 Scotland 27 February 2016 Stadio Olimpico (Rome)
9 67,529 France 3 Feb 2013 Stadio Olimpico (Rome)
10 67,127 France 15 March 2015 Stadio Olimpico (Rome)

Strip

Italy play in blue jerseys.

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
1981–1989 Adidas None
1990–1993 Lotto[41]
1991 Rugby World Cup
1993–1995 Gilbert[42]
1995 Rugby World Cup
1996–1997 Reebok
1997 European Nations Cup
1998–1999 None
1999 Cotton Oxford
2000 Six Nations – 2000 mid-year internationals Canterbury Alliance UniChem
2000 end-of-year internationals – 2002 mid-year internationals Kappa
2002 end-of-year internationals – 2006 end-of-year internationals Jaguar
2007 Six Nations championship – 2012 mid-year internationals Cariparma
2012 end-of-year internationals – 2017 mid-year internationals Adidas
2017 end-of-year internationals – 2018 mid-year internationals Macron
2018 end-of-year internationals – Cattolica Assicurazioni

Awards

Competition 1st, gold medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s) 3rd, bronze medalist(s) Total
Olympic Games 0 0 0 0
Rugby World Cup 0 0 0 0
European Nations Cup 1 9 8 18
Total 1 9 8 18

Record

Top 30 rankings as of 25 November 2019[43]
Rank Change* Team Points
1 Steady  South Africa 094.19
2 Steady  New Zealand 092.11
3 Steady  England 088.82
4 Steady  Wales 085.02
5 Steady  Ireland 084.45
6 Steady  Australia 081.90
7 Steady  France 080.88
8 Steady  Japan 079.28
9 Steady  Scotland 079.23
10 Steady  Argentina 078.31
11 Steady  Fiji 076.21
12 Steady  Italy 072.04
13 Steady  Tonga 071.44
14 Steady  Georgia 071.26
15 Steady  Samoa 070.72
16 Steady  Spain 068.15
17 Steady  United States 068.10
18 Steady  Uruguay 067.41
19 Steady  Romania 066.69
20 Steady  Russia 063.09
21 Steady  Hong Kong 061.25
22 Steady  Canada 061.12
23 Steady  Namibia 061.01
24 Steady  Portugal 061.01
25 Increase  Netherlands 060.08
26 Decrease  Brazil 058.89
27 Increase  Belgium 055.74
28 Decrease  Germany 054.64
29 Increase  Chile 053.83
30 Increase  Korea 053.11
*Change from the previous week
Italy's historical rankings
Italy IRB World Rankings.png
Source: World Rugby - Graph updated to 18 November 2019[43]


Overall

Below is table of the representative rugby matches played by an Italy national XV at test level up until 24 September 2019.[44]

Opponent Played Won Lost Drawn Win % For Aga Diff
 Argentina 22 5 16 1 22.73% 383 557 −174
 Australia 18 0 18 0 0.00% 251 631 −380
 Australia XV 2 0 2 0 0.00% 36 75 −39
 Belgium 2 2 0 0 100.00% 75 0 +75
 Border Bulldogs 1 0 1 0 0.00% 12 25 −13
 Bulgaria 1 1 0 0 100.00% 17 0 +17
 Canada 9 7 2 0 77.78% 246 128 +118
Catalonia Catalonia 2 1 0 1 50% 10 8 +2
 Cook Islands 1 0 1 0 0.00% 6 15 −9
 Croatia 1 1 0 0 100.00% 76 11 +65
 Czech Republic 1 1 0 0 100.00% 104 8 +96
 Czechoslovakia 12 10 1 1 83.33% 266 62 +204
 England 26 0 26 0 0.00% 319 1058 −739
 England XV 1 0 0 1 0.00% 15 15 +0
England England B 1 0 1 0 0.00% 9 21 −12
England England U23 3 1 1 1 33.33% 31 42 −11
 Fiji 12 6 6 0 50.00% 282 275 +7
 France 42 3 39 0 7.14% 481 1270 −789
 France XV 30 1 28 1 3.33% 289 751 −462
France France Espoirs 1 0 1 0 0.00% 18 21 −3
 Georgia 2 2 0 0 100.00% 59 39 +20
 Germany 6 2 4 0 33.33% 27 54 −27
 Ireland 31 4 27 0 12.90% 468 1074 −606
 Japan 8 6 2 0 75.00% 241 146 +95
 Leopards 3 2 1 0 66.66% 55 46 +9
 Madagascar 2 2 0 0 100.00% 26 15 +11
 Middlesex 1 0 1 0 0.00% 12 28 −16
 Morocco 8 6 2 0 75.00% 184 52 +132
 Golden Lions 1 0 1 0 0.00% 24 28 −4
 Namibia 4 2 2 0 50.00% 122 96 +26
  Sharks 1 0 1 0 0.00% 3 23 −20
 Netherlands 4 4 0 0 100.00% 178 27 +151
 New Zealand 14 0 14 0 0.00% 131 820 −689
 New Zealand XV 1 0 1 0 0.00% 12 18 −6
 Junior All Blacks 1 0 1 0 0.00% 13 30 −17
 North-Eastern Cape 1 0 1 0 0.00% 12 31 −19
 Northern Free State 1 0 1 0 0.00% 11 12 −1
 Oxfordshire 1 0 1 0 0.00% 6 30 −24
 Pacific Islanders 1 0 1 0 0.00% 17 25 −8
 Poland 7 6 1 0 85.71% 165 49 +116
 Portugal 12 10 1 1 83.33% 333 71 +262
 Romania 42 23 16 3 54.76% 609 634 −25
 Russia 5 5 0 0 100.00% 283 76 +207
 Samoa 7 2 5 0 28.57% 109 175 −66
 Scotland 30 8 22 0 26.66% 515 749 −234
 Scotland A 3 1 2 0 33.33% 51 55 −4
 Serbia and Montenegro 3 3 0 0 100.00% 60 22 +38
 South Africa 14 1 13 0 7.14% 171 652 −481
 Soviet Union 14 4 9 1 28.57% 171 165 +6
 Spain 27 23 3 1 85.19% 581 187 +394
 Steval Pumas 1 0 1 0 0.00% 12 39 −27
 Sussex 1 0 1 0 0.00% 7 16 −9
 Tonga 5 3 2 0 60.00% 154 82 +72
 Tunisia 3 3 0 0 100.00% 60 19 +41
 United States 5 5 0 0 100.00% 154 74 +80
 Uruguay 3 3 0 0 100.00% 92 25 +67
 Wales 27 2 24 1 9.25% 436 912 −476
 West Germany 14 13 0 1 92.86% 226 69 +157
 Zimbabwe 3 3 0 0 100.00% 70 25 +45
Total 504 186 304 14 36.90% 8786 11633 -2877

Six Nations

Italy entered the International Championship in 2000 when it became the Six Nations, and made a positive start by winning their debut match 34–20 against Scotland. They finished fifth in 2003 above Wales in the final standings, having defeated them 30–22, and were again fifth the following year above Scotland, after beating them 20–14. In 2006, Italy drew with Wales 18–18 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Italy's first three Six Nations match victories, in 2000, 2003, and 2004, had been in front of a home crowd at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome. However, on 24 February 2007, they defeated Scotland 37–17 at Murrayfield for their first away win in the competition. Two weeks later, they defeated Wales for the second time, 23–20 back in Rome. This was the first time that Italy had won two of their five games in the championship, and they finished the 2007 Six Nations Championship in fourth place.

Italy won the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy for the first time in 2011 with a close-fought 22–21 victory over France. Two years later, they lifted the trophy for a second time by defeating France 23–18. Italy also recorded a first Six Nations victory over Ireland in 2013, beating them 22–15, and equalling their best finish of fourth place in the final standings. On 28 February 2015, Italy achieved their second away win against Scotland, a tight 22–21 victory, but they have not won a game in the tournament since that date.

As of March 2019, Italy have won twelve Six Nations matches, seven of these against Scotland, two against both France and Wales, and one against Ireland. England is the only team that Italy have yet to beat in the championship.

Year Position W D L PF PA PD  FRA  ENG  IRL  WAL  SCO
2000 6th 1 0 4 106 228 −122 L L L L W
2001 6th 0 0 5 106 207 −101 L L L L L
2002 6th 0 0 5 70 183 −113 L L L L L
2003 5th 1 0 4 100 185 −85 L L L W L
2004 5th 1 0 4 42 152 −110 L L L L W
2005 6th 0 0 5 55 179 −124 L L L L L
2006 6th 0 1 4 72 125 −53 L L L D L
2007 4th 2 0 3 94 147 −53 L L L W W
2008 6th 1 0 4 74 131 −57 L L L L W
2009 6th 0 0 5 49 170 −121 L L L L L
2010 6th 1 0 4 69 137 −68 L L L L W
2011 6th 1 0 4 70 138 −68 W L L L L
2012 5th 1 0 4 53 121 −68 L L L L W
2013 4th 2 0 3 75 111 −36 W L W L L
2014 6th 0 0 5 63 172 −109 L L L L L
2015 5th 1 0 4 62 182 −120 L L L L W
2016 6th 0 0 5 79 224 −145 L L L L L
2017 6th 0 0 5 50 201 −151 L L L L L
2018 6th 0 0 5 92 203 −111 L L L L L
2019 6th 0 0 5 79 167 −88 L L L L L
Overall 12 1 85 1401 3229 −1828 2–0–18 0–0–20 1–0–19 2–1–17 7–0–13
 
England

France

Ireland

Italy

Scotland

Wales
Tournaments 122 88 124 19 124 124
Outright wins (shared wins)
Home Nations 5 (4) N/A 4 (4) N/A 10 (3) 7 (4)
Five Nations 17 (6) 12 (8) 6 (5) N/A 5 (6) 15 (8)
Six Nations 6 5 4 0 0 5
Overall 28 (10) 17 (8) 14 (9) 0 (0) 15 (9) 27 (12)
Grand Slams
Home Nations 0 N/A 0 N/A 0 2
Five Nations 11 6 1 N/A 3 6
Six Nations 2 3 2 0 0 4
Overall 13 9 3 0 3 12
Triple Crowns
Home Nations 5 N/A 2 N/A 7 6
Five Nations 16 N/A 4 N/A 3 11
Six Nations 4 N/A 5 N/A 0 4
Overall 25 N/A 11 N/A 10 21
Wooden Spoons
Home Nations 11 N/A 15 N/A 8 8
Five Nations 14 17 21 N/A 21 12
Six Nations 0 1 0 14 4 1
Overall 25 18 36 14 33 21

Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup Qualification
Year Round Pld W D L PF PA Squad Pos Pld W D L PF PA
New Zealand Australia 1987 Pool Stage 3 1 0 2 40 110 Squad Invited
England France Ireland Scotland Wales 1991 Pool Stage 3 1 0 2 57 76 Squad 1st 3 3 0 0 83 38
South Africa 1995 Pool Stage 3 1 0 2 69 94 Squad 2nd 4 3 0 1 210 52
Wales 1999 Pool Stage 3 0 0 3 35 196 Squad 2nd 6 5 0 1 302 92
Australia 2003 Pool Stage 4 2 0 2 77 123 Squad 1st 2 2 0 0 75 20
France 2007 Pool Stage 4 2 0 2 85 117 Squad 1st 2 2 0 0 150 7
New Zealand 2011 Pool Stage 4 2 0 2 92 95 Squad Automatically qualified
England 2015 Pool Stage 4 2 0 2 74 88 Squad Automatically qualified
Japan 2019 Pool Stage 3 2 0 1 98 78 Squad Automatically qualified
France 2023 Automatically qualified
Total Pool Stage 31 13 0 18 627 977 17 15 0 2 820 209
     Champions       Runners-up       Third place       Fourth place Home venue

Italy have competed at every Rugby World Cup since the competition's inception in 1987. Italy finished third in their pool at their first World Cup, defeating Fiji, but not making the finals. They did not make the finals in 1991, grouped in a tough pool with England and the All Blacks. At the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa, they finished behind England and Western Samoa, but above Argentina in their pool.

In 1999 they did not make the finals, with their defeats by the All Blacks and Tonga. Italy won two pool games at the 2003 World Cup, defeating both Canada and Tonga, but lost to the All Blacks and Wales. Italy played the 2007 Rugby World Cup in Pool C, against New Zealand, Scotland, Romania and Portugal (who had been beaten 83–0 by Italy in the qualifiers), with the goal of reaching the quarter finals for the first time. However, in the crucial group match against Scotland, Italy were undone by indiscipline. Chris Paterson kicked all of Scotland's points in an 18–16 victory, despite Italy crossing the line for the game's only try.

European championships

Before 2000, Italy was one of the leading European teams outside the Five Nations, along with Romania, and for a while the USSR.

Italy competed in the original European Championships from 1936–38, but World War II meant that the tournament would not resume until 1952. Italy then competed in these tournaments from 1952–2000. Italy achieved only one the victory in 1995–97 FIRA Trophy.

Team First place Second place Third place
 Italy 1 9 8
Year Host city Winner Second place Third place
1936 Berlin
France

Germany

Italy
1937 Paris
France

Italy

Germany
Year Winner Second place Third place
1952
France

Italy

West Germany
1954
France

Italy

Spain
Year Winner Second place Third place
1965/1966
France

Italy

Romania
1966/1967
France

Romania

Italy
1969/1970
France

Romania

Italy
Year Winner Second place Third place
1974/1975
Romania

France

Italy
1975/1976
France

Italy

Romania
1976/1977
Romania

France

Italy
1979/1980
France

Romania

Italy
1981/1982
France

Italy

Romania
1982/1983
Romania

Italy

Soviet Union
1983/1984
France

Romania

Italy
1984/1985
France

Soviet Union

Italy
1990/1992
France

Italy

Romania
1992/1994
France

Italy

Romania
1995/1997
Italy

France

Romania

Players and coaches

Current squad

On 18 August 2019, Italy named their 31-man squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.[45]

On 5 October, Danilo Fischetti and Giosuè Zilocchi replaced Simone Ferrari and Marco Riccioni.[46]

Head Coach: Ireland Conor O'Shea

  • Caps updated: 4 October 2019
Player Position Date of birth (age) Caps Club/province
Luca Bigi Hooker (1991-04-19) 19 April 1991 (age 28) 24 Italy Zebre
Oliviero Fabiani Hooker (1990-07-03) 3 July 1990 (age 29) 10 Italy Zebre
Leonardo Ghiraldini Hooker (1984-12-26) 26 December 1984 (age 34) 104 Unattached
Simone Ferrari Prop (1994-03-28) 28 March 1994 (age 25) 29 Italy Benetton
Danilo Fischetti Prop (1998-01-26) 26 January 1998 (age 21) 0 Italy Zebre
Andrea Lovotti Prop (1989-07-28) 28 July 1989 (age 30) 41 Italy Zebre
Tiziano Pasquali Prop (1994-07-14) 14 July 1994 (age 25) 21 Italy Benetton
Nicola Quaglio Prop (1991-03-09) 9 March 1991 (age 28) 13 Italy Benetton
Marco Riccioni Prop (1997-10-19) 19 October 1997 (age 22) 7 Italy Benetton
Federico Zani Prop (1989-04-09) 9 April 1989 (age 30) 13 Italy Benetton
Giosuè Zilocchi Prop (1997-01-15) 15 January 1997 (age 22) 2 Italy Zebre
Dean Budd Lock (1986-07-31) 31 July 1986 (age 33) 26 Italy Benetton
Federico Ruzza Lock (1994-08-04) 4 August 1994 (age 25) 18 Italy Benetton
Dave Sisi Lock (1993-02-05) 5 February 1993 (age 26) 9 Italy Zebre
Alessandro Zanni Lock (1984-01-31) 31 January 1984 (age 35) 117 Italy Benetton
Maxime Mbanda Back row (1993-04-10) 10 April 1993 (age 26) 20 Italy Zebre
Sebastian Negri Back row (1994-06-30) 30 June 1994 (age 25) 22 Italy Benetton
Sergio Parisse (c) Back row (1983-09-12) 12 September 1983 (age 36) 142 France RC Toulonnais
Jake Polledri Back row (1995-11-08) 8 November 1995 (age 24) 13 England Gloucester
Braam Steyn Back row (1992-05-02) 2 May 1992 (age 27) 36 Italy Benetton
Callum Braley Scrum-half (1994-03-20) 20 March 1994 (age 25) 5 England Gloucester
Guglielmo Palazzani Scrum-half (1991-04-11) 11 April 1991 (age 28) 36 Italy Zebre
Tito Tebaldi Scrum-half (1987-09-23) 23 September 1987 (age 32) 36 Italy Benetton
Tommaso Allan Fly-half (1993-04-26) 26 April 1993 (age 26) 54 Italy Benetton
Carlo Canna Fly-half (1992-08-25) 25 August 1992 (age 27) 39 Italy Zebre
Tommaso Benvenuti Centre (1990-12-12) 12 December 1990 (age 28) 62 Italy Benetton
Michele Campagnaro Centre (1993-03-13) 13 March 1993 (age 26) 46 England Harlequins
Luca Morisi Centre (1991-02-22) 22 February 1991 (age 28) 29 Italy Benetton
Mattia Bellini Wing (1994-02-08) 8 February 1994 (age 25) 22 Italy Zebre
Giulio Bisegni Wing (1992-04-04) 4 April 1992 (age 27) 14 Italy Zebre
Matteo Minozzi Wing (1996-06-04) 4 June 1996 (age 23) 16 England Wasps
Jayden Hayward Fullback (1987-02-11) 11 February 1987 (age 32) 23 Italy Benetton
Edoardo Padovani Fullback (1993-05-15) 15 May 1993 (age 26) 24 Italy Zebre

Recent call-up not selected

Player Position Date of birth (age) Caps Club/province
Engjel Makelara Hooker (1996-08-22) 22 August 1996 (age 23) 0 Italy Benetton
Cherif Traorè Prop (1994-04-10) 10 April 1994 (age 25) 10 Italy Benetton
Marco Fuser Lock (1991-03-09) 9 March 1991 (age 28) 33 Italy Benetton
Marco Lazzaroni Lock (1995-05-18) 18 May 1995 (age 24) 4 Italy Benetton
Renato Giammarioli Back row (1995-03-23) 23 March 1995 (age 24) 4 Italy Zebre
Giovanni Licata Back row (1997-02-18) 18 February 1997 (age 22) 8 Italy Zebre
Jimmy Tuivaiti Back row (1988-01-02) 2 January 1988 (age 31) 5 Italy Zebre
Marcello Violi Scrum-half (1993-10-11) 11 October 1993 (age 26) 15 Italy Zebre
Ian McKinley Fly-half (1989-12-04) 4 December 1989 (age 30) 9 Italy Benetton
Tommaso Castello Centre (1991-01-14) 14 January 1991 (age 28) 20 Italy Zebre
Marco Zanon Centre (1997-10-03) 3 October 1997 (age 22) 1 Italy Benetton
Angelo Esposito Wing (1993-06-14) 14 June 1993 (age 26) 21 Italy Benetton

Coaches

Name From To P W D L % W/P
Italy Arnaldo Cortese
England John Thomas
20 May 1929 1 0 0 1 0
Italy Arturo Cameroni
Italy Luigi Bricchi
29 May 1930 1 1 0 0 100
Italy Luigi Bricchi 1 November 1932 26 December 1934 4 3 0 1 75
Italy Luigi Bricchi
France Julien Saby
26 December 1934 7 April 1935 1 1 0 0 100
France Julien Saby 7 April 1935 14 May 1936 2 0 0 2 0
Italy Luigi Bricchi
France Michel Boucheron
14 May 1936 16 May 1936 2 1 0 1 50
Italy Luigi Bricchi
France Julien Saby
1 January 1937 17 October 1937 5 2 1 2 40
Italy Luigi Bricchi 6 March 1938 20 November 1938 1 0 0 1 0
Italy Luigi Bricchi
Italy Giuseppe Sessa
20 November 1938 19 March 1940 2 1 0 1 50
Italy Romano Bonifazi 19 March 1940 9 February 1941 2 1 0 1 50
Italy Luigi Bricchi
Italy Franco Chiaserotti
9 February 1941 2 May 1942
Italy Luigi Bricchi
Italy Franco Chiaserotti
2 May 1942 1 1 0 0 100
Italy Tommaso Fattori 18 May 1947 27 March 1949 2 1 0 1 50
Italy Giorgio Briasco
Italy Antonio Radicini
27 March 1949 26 February 1950 2 0 0 2 0
Italy Romano Bonifazi 26 February 1950 29 July 1950
Italy Francesco Vinci 29 July 1950 4 October 1950
Italy Renzo Maffioli 4 October 1950 25 February 1951
Italy Renzo Maffioli
France Julien Saby
25 February 1951 1 August 1954 9 6 0 3 66.7
Italy Piermarcello Farinelli
Italy Aldo Invernici
Italy Umberto Silvestri
1 August 1954 22 December 1956 8 5 0 3 62.5
Italy Giulio Fereoli
Italy Aldo Invernici
Italy Umberto Silvestri
22 December 1956 8 December 1957 2 1 0 1 50
Italy Sergio Barilari
Italy Aldo Invernici
Italy Umberto Silvestri
8 December 1957 19 July 1958 1 0 0 1 0
Italy Sergio Barilari
Italy Mario Battaglini
Italy Aldo Invernici
19 July 1958 10 April 1960 2 1 0 1 50
Italy Sergio Barilari
Italy Romano Bonifazi
10 April 1960 22 April 1962 4 2 0 2 50
Italy Aldo Invernici 22 April 1962 8 December 1965 7 2 0 5 28.5
Italy Sergio Barilari
Italy Mario Martone
8 December 1965 28 October 1967 7 3 1 3 42.8
Italy Aldo Invernici 28 October 1967 24 May 1970 8 7 0 1 87.5
Italy Giordano Campice 24 May 1970 25 October 1970 2 2 0 0 100
Italy Sergio Barilari 25 October 1970 10 April 1971 3 0 0 3 0
Italy Guglielmo Geremia 11 April 1971 27 May 1971 1 0 0 1 0
Italy Aldo Invernici 28 May 1971 19 February 1972
Italy Umberto Levorato 20 February 1972 25 November 1972 4 1 2 1 25
Italy Gianni Villa 26 November 1972 14 February 1975 20 6 1 13 30
Wales Roy Bish 15 February 1975 1º April 1977 15 8 1 6 53.3
Italy Isidoro Quaglio 2 April 1977 1º May 1977 2 1 0 1 50
Wales Gwyn Evans 23 October 1977 23 October 1978 5 1 1 3 20
France Pierre Villepreux 24 October 1978 24 October 1981 24 10 1 13 41.6
Italy Paolo Paladini
Italy Marco Pulli
25 October 1981 9 November 1985 28 16 2 10 57.14
Italy Marco Bollesan 10 November 1985 4 November 1988 19 7 1 11 36.8
Italy Loreto Cucchiarelli 5 November 1988 29 September 1989 7 1 0 6 14.3
Italy Loreto Cucchiarelli
France Bertrand Fourcade
29 September 1989 31 December 1989 2 1 0 1 50
France Bertrand Fourcade 1 January 1990 30 August 1993 27 16 0 11 59.3
France Georges Coste 31 August 1993 19 June 1999 48 19 1 28 39.6
Italy Massimo Mascioletti 20 June 1999 19 November 1999 5 2 0 3 40
New Zealand Brad Johnstone 20 November 1999 26 April 2002 27 5 0 22 18.5
New Zealand John Kirwan 27 April 2002 18 April 2005 32 10 0 22 31.3
France Pierre Berbizier 19 April 2005 30 September 2007 30 12 1 17 40
South Africa Nick Mallett 3 October 2007 30 October 2011 42 9 0 33 21.4
France Jacques Brunel 1 November 2011 31 May 2016 50 11 0 39 22.0
Ireland Conor O'Shea 1 June 2016 26 6 0 19 23.08

Player records (career)

Most caps

# Player Pos Span Mat Start Sub Pts Tries Won Lost Draw %
1 Sergio Parisse Number 8 2002–2019 142 139 3 83 16 35 106 1 25.00
2 Martin Castrogiovanni Prop 2002–2016 119 91 28 60 12 30 88 1 25.63
3 Alessandro Zanni Flanker 2005–2019 117 91 26 20 4 31 85 1 26.92
4 Marco Bortolami Lock 2001–2015 112 92 20 35 7 29 82 1 26.33
5 Mauro Bergamasco Flanker 1998–2015 106 90 16 75 15 30 76 0 28.30
6 Leonardo Ghiraldini Hooker 2006–2019 104 84 20 25 5 20 84 0 19.23
7 Andrea Lo Cicero Prop 2000–2013 103 79 24 40 8 32 70 1 31.55
8 Alessandro Troncon Scrum-half 1994–2007 101 94 7 95 19 33 67 1 33.16
9 Andrea Masi Fullback 2000–2015 95 82 13 65 13 23 72 0 24.21
10 Mirco Bergamasco Wing 2002–2012 89 82 7 256 17 22 66 1 25.28
Luke McLean Fullback 2008–2017 89 75 14 74 7 18 71 0 20.22

Last updated: South Africa vs Italy, 4 October 2019. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[47]

Most tries

# Player Pos Span Mat Start Sub Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop
1 Marcello Cuttitta Wing 1987–1999 54 54 0 110 25 0 0 0
2 Paolo Vaccari Wing 1991–2003 64 63 1 107 22 0 0 0
3 Carlo Checchinato Number 8 1990–2004 83 73 10 105 21 0 0 0
Manrico Marchetto Wing 1972–1981 43 39 4 84 21 0 0 0
5 Alessandro Troncon Scrum-half 1994–2007 101 94 7 95 19 0 0 0
6 Mirco Bergamasco Wing 2002–2012 89 82 7 256 17 12 49 0
Serafino Ghizzoni Wing 1977–1987 60 59 1 77 17 0 0 3
Massimo Mascioletti Wing 1977–1990 54 54 0 68 17 0 0 0
9 Ivan Francescato Centre 1990–1997 38 38 0 77 16 0 0 0
Sergio Parisse Number 8 2002– 142 139 3 83 16 0 0 1

Last updated: South Africa vs Italy, 4 October 2019. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Most points

# Player Pos Span Mat Start Sub Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop
1 Diego Domínguez Fly-half 1991–2003 74 73 1 983 9 127 208 20
2 Stefano Bettarello Fly-half 1979–1988 55 54 1 483 7 46 104 17
3 Tommaso Allan Fly-half 2013– 54 39 15 313 11 51 51 1
4 Luigi Troiani Fullback 1985–1995 47 47 0 294 2 57 57 0
5 Ramiro Pez Fly-half 2000–2007 40 33 7 260 4 33 52 6
6 Mirco Bergamasco Wing 2002–2012 89 82 7 256 17 12 49 0
7 Luciano Orquera Fly-half 2004–2015 48 27 21 154 3 20 31 2
8 David Bortolussi Fullback 2006–2008 16 15 1 153 1 35 25 1
9 Carlo Canna Fly-half 2015– 39 17 22 147 4 20 26 3
10 Ennio Ponzi Fly-half 1973–1977 20 20 0 133 0 17 31 2

Last updated: South Africa vs Italy, 4 October 2019. Statistics include officially capped matches only. [47]

Most matches as captain

# Player Pos Span Mat Won Lost Draw % Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop
1 Sergio Parisse Number 8 2008–2019 93 18 75 0 19.35 68 13 0 0 1
2 Marco Bortolami Lock 2002–2014 39 14 24 1 37.17 35 7 0 0 0
3 Marco Bollesan Number 8 1968–1975 37 15 20 2 43.24 21 6 0 0 0
Massimo Giovanelli Flanker 1992–1999 37 14 22 1 39.18 15 3 0 0 0
5 Massimo Cuttitta Prop 1993–1999 22 10 12 0 45.45 15 3 0 0 0
6 Alessandro Troncon Scrum-half 2000–2007 21 7 14 0 33.33 25 5 0 0 0
7 Marzio Innocenti Flanker 1985–1988 20 7 12 1 37.50 8 2 0 0 0
8 Alessandro Moscardi Hooker 2000–2002 19 4 15 0 21.05 5 1 0 0 0
9 Ambrogio Bona Prop 1978–1981 18 9 9 0 50.00 4 1 0 0 0
10 Leonardo Ghiraldini Hooker 2008–2019 17 5 12 0 29.41 5 1 0 0 0

Last updated: South Africa vs Italy, 4 October 2019. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Player records (single match)

Most points in a match

# Player Pos Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop Opposition Venue Date
1. Stefano Bettarello Fly-half 29 1 2 5 2  Canada Canada Toronto 1 July 1982
Diego Domínguez Fly-half 29 0 1 6 3  Scotland Italy Rome 5 February 2000
Diego Domínguez Fly-half 29 0 4 7 0  Fiji Italy Treviso 10 November 2001
4. Diego Domínguez Fly-half 28 1 7 3 0  Netherlands Italy Calvisano 21 May 1994
5. Diego Domínguez Fly-half 27 1 2 6 0  Ireland Italy Bologna 20 December 1997
6. Diego Domínguez Fly-half 25 0 5 5 0  Romania France Tarbes 26 October 1997
7. Luigi Troiani Fly-half 24 0 12 0 0  Czech Republic Italy Viadana 18 May 1994
Diego Domínguez Fly-half 24 0 0 8 0  Romania Italy Catania 1 October 1994
Mirco Bergamasco Wing 24 0 0 8 0  Fiji Italy Modena 27 November 2010
10. 3 players on 23 points

Last updated: South Africa vs Italy, 4 October 2019. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Most tries in a match

# Player Pos Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop Opposition Venue Date
1. Renzo Cova Wing 12 4 0 0 0  Belgium France Paris 10 October 1937
Ivan Francescato Centre 20 4 0 0 0  Morocco France Carcassonne 19 June 1993
3. 15 players on 3 tries

Last updated: South Africa vs Italy, 4 October 2019. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

See also

References

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External links

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