The Federazione Italiana Rugby Football League have just announced Coppa Italia champions USAG (in English Harlequins Gladiators Sports Union) will become the first Italian club to play both junior rugby league and rugby union, the USAG club already play senior rugby league in both the r-Evolution League and the Coppa Italia RL, but will now establish an FIRFL academy for rugby league in Rome.
The FIRFL stated that “it was initially a project aimed to be a senior rugby league team, but in the context of junior grades from under 6 to under 12, which will see youngsters taught both codes of rugby (league and union), since during their long junior careers they will mix a variety including; touch rugby and mixed.”
The FIRFL have announced the new club will be based at Grottaferrata in Rome, where there is two main synthetic fields to be used for various squads games and trainings, including Gladiators Roma (Roman Rugby League club that are five time champions of Italy, now to be based at Grottaferrata). FIRFL have stated “the acquired facilities will become a reference for a highly specialised Federal Centre for our rugby league federation (FIRFL).”
FIRFL state “the new company aims to extend to all those children, from 6 to 12 years (but also smaller) to the territory of Grottaferrata and surroundings, who want to experience rich and ancient traditions, such as rugby, but with modern methodologies on the field … and in life. The development of these guys, in fact, will include some local Church leaders, just to reinforce moral values and group that this sport teaches and inspires.
With the municipal administration, they will be happy to embrace this new project of Gladiators, and us thought to want to extend this design to the social sphere: it is here that come into play the local parishes and allow increased collaboration, which will be responsible for teaching (also on the field) of human and moral values that sport today preaches unfortunately less and less.”
They progress into saying “the intention of the leadership is not on frenzy of churning out super athletes or that kids win necessarily all matches. It is essential rather than these to have fun always, observing certain behaviours and attitudes.”
The club has already prepared the technical staff for both rugby league and rugby union disciplines.
The new centre comes alongside the acquirement of a quality administration office in the centre of Rome at Confapi Lazio. Projects that are virtually unheard of for amateur based Rugby League Federations in Europe.