Date: 11/7/14

After recent development coming from the national camp staged in Vinci (Italy) that saw the Senior and youth national teams come together, the Federazione Italiana Rugby Football League (Firfl) prepares for its climax this weekend, which sees the semi-finals and final stage for its national championship the ‘r-Evolution League’. The winners of the three preliminary groups (Southern, Central and Northern Italy) and the best second placed club will battle it out on Saturday and Sunday will be at the “Fulvio Iacoboni” viale Fassini field in Rieti.

The CellaCella Rieti XIII club will host the r-Evolution League finals in their debut season after qualifying as the next best of the rest placing second in the Central Italian group, while the Southern Italy leading club Spartans Catania return to finals for the first time since 2012, 2 time Italian runners up Rex Albinea from the north, and then there is Gladiators Roma from central Italy (champions of Italy in the last four editions of the FIRFL Italian Championship).

The FIRFL “Final Four” festival will start Saturday at 16.30 in the first semi-final. Then you will know the name of the other finalist. Sunday, the program will be the same: at 16.30 the third and fourth place challenge will launch the day and then following that the title of champion of Italy 2014 will be won after what is expected to be a close 2014 r-Evolution League Gran Finale.

The favourite for the event this year is difficult to determine because the teams are in any case excellent, the Spartans Catania are warlike with a number of feeder clubs joining with the Spartans, the Rex Albinea have managed to attract a number of high quality rugby players, the Gladiators are reigning champions but have lost some important players lately and then there is the novelty of Rieti that can count on the typical enthusiasm of their many league rookies and the support of home fans.

The FIRFL will of course present en masse to the appointment with all its institutional members (starting with the Federal President David Massitti) and technical members. in Rieti, in fact, Ty Sterry the coach of the Italian national team will observe the potential future Azzurri members.

In more FIRFL news……

FIRFL introduce Rugby League to Leonardo da Vinci’s birthplace: Italia A v Barbarian, Italia u18 and RL Academy

The Federazione Italiana Rugby Football League has helped to expand Rugby League to Vinci, Tuscany during the popular GenioGioco festival with the Italia A National Team battling Barbarian Warriors (made up of International and Italian Development players from the championship) and their u18 Italia A and Italia B taking on each other on Saturday June 27 at the Golf Club Bellosguardo di Vinci’s Rugby field (sponsor of the event). Initially the opponent would have been a selection from a French region, but bureaucratic problems arose.

Present at the local press announcement were FIRFL Federal Councillor Alessandro Coppala, FIRFL Secretary General Pierluigi Gentile, the Mayor Giuseppe Torchia and the Vice-President of Bellosguardo Golf Club Cristina Carmignani on Friday, June 27.

This opportunity allowed them to discuss rugby in general, the differences of rugby league and union and how all rugby codes are silenced by the soccer or football juggernaut in the country.

Coppola told “Rugby portrays values, such as loyalty, fairness and team play. If we look at soccer and other minor sports we realize that we must take a different sense.” “We are committed above all to teaching children how to grow following this vision.”

The FIRFL has been involved in social initiatives for several years as Gentile explains “For years together we have been committed to spreading rugby league to prisons, disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Rome or in support of poor countries: we were recently in Kenya teaching children this sport, but especially to fix orphanages and lend a hand.”

Pierluigi Gentile suggests, although two different sports, they have a ‘working together’ approach as “close cousins” for Rugby, not against like in various other countries. “We have activated contacts with CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee, in English) to recognize our Federation and we have found some availability. Players and Coaches constantly changing between the two disciplines and demonstrates this closeness “.

Mayor Torchia thanked the Federation for the selecting Vinci, (this will be) an occasion to attract an many interested people in this sport and then stimulate commercial and touristic benefits: “Initiatives such as these are important to us and to the territory” We’re starting to assess the possibility of creating a school of Rugby (League) for Vinci, there is the utmost collaboration from the council.”

Among the FIRFL staff was one of their rugby league national technical coaches Luigi Ferraro, star of Calsivano Rugby (union national champions) and Magnifici Firenze XIII. He explained (via “Organising a national event in a city like Vinci is definitely an important opportunity to raise awareness of the discipline and maybe leave a few small buds so that in future there may be a youth movement. I’m a (former national rugby union player, but in recent years, I took part in the (rugby league) course for coaches and I am proud to be able to make a contribution to help grow this sport.”