Italia Rugby League XIII

By Phil Caplan, Date: 10/5/13

Three more new clubs are scheduled to start the Italian domestic season, which is officially launched at the end of May in Milan.

The structure will see four teams in three conferences – North West, North East and Central – with the three leading sides in each conference and the best runner up overall contesting the semi finals.

North West Roosters, created by two former South African rugby union players, signals the re-introduction of the sport in the Piemonte area, where Turin became Italy’s first ever rugby league club in 1949.

They will be seeking a berth in the Serie ‘A’ Grand Final in Modena on July 13, alongside another new club, XIII Ghilandina from the host town in the Emilia-Romagna region.

XIII Ghilandina was formed by Italian international Andrea Sola. “I decided to help develop rugby league in my home town of Modena and to give an opportunity to capable and willing young people to aspire to represent Italy,” he said.

Also making their bow are Tirreno Sharks who become the second Tuscan outfit to join the competition, following the recent announcement of dual-code club Florence Rugby 1931. The Sharks draw their players from the historic coastal towns of Piombino, Livorno and Cecina, and will play home games in Via Settembrini in Livorno.

Club founder Edward Pescucci was drawn to rugby league through playing for Coventry University. “I’m sure it will be a baptism of fire at home to Florence, which has Azzuri internationals like Marcelo Segundo and Fabio Nannini and good young quality players,” he noted. “Another incentive for our players to do well is the possibility of gaining a place in the Italian national team that will play the European Shield.”

Piacenza’s XIII Del Ducato will be defending their crown while much is expected of last season’s beaten finalists Este Rams who were in their first campaign.

A young side – five of their players represented Italy against Germany at under-18 level – the Rams feel they can go one better this year. “The goal for this season is to win the championship,” commented Este manager David Veronese. “The level of competition is steadily increasing and the entry into the championship of teams like Florence, Modena and the Terreno Sharks will continue to raise the level.”