Although the sport has a long history in the country going back to the 1950’s, it has been since 2008 when the sport has found a permanent home for itself in Italy, and it has been since that year that the country has been under the stewardship of the Federazione Italiana Rugby League governing body.
Despite that, it can be difficult for fans of the country to keep up to date with all of the latest Italian Rugby League news but now there is a simple way and that is by visiting this very page as we bring you all of the latest Italy RL news stories from around the globe.
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Italy don’t have a national stadium of their own but they have often made a home base for themselves at the Stadio Plebiscito in Padua.
The Italian Rugby League side are part of the European Rugby League (ERL) federation, which is the controlling body for all European international sides.
Rugby League in Italy and especially the national test side have had a tough time of it as has been the case in so many countries where Rugby Union has tried to eradicate the sport and to punish those involved in it.
That has led to a big split for Italian RL, with an initial heyday in the 1950’s and 60’s and then a rebirth in the new millennium.
In 1950, a Turin based team travelled across to the North of England to take on a number of club sides including their first ever match up against Wigan where Wigan ran out 49 points to 28 winners in August 1950.
That led to the establishment of a domestic competition in Italy and to the first international match for the Azzurri when they headed to Cahors to take on France where they would lose 29-17 despite leading 7-10 at half time.
In 1958, the sport exploded in Italy thanks to the recognition of the Italian Federation of Amateur Rugby 13 (FIAR 13) by the RFL which helped it establish 24 clubs and have 620 players in its first year.
That growth and recognition allowed them to step up to the test match level on the international stage and it would be a glamour tie that would be the first ever test match for Italy when they welcomed the Australian Kangaroos to Padua, and they would impress with a 15-37 defeat.
Unfortunately, whilst it was great that that glamour matched showcased to sport to locals and seemingly impressed many, it also grabbed the attention of Rugby Union officials who had the connections to kill off the sport in the country until the 1990’s.
It was two Italian-Australians, John Benigni and Domenic Pezzano who would revive the sport starting with the World Sevens in the mid 1990’s.
It would be at the Sevens and Nines level that the country would continue to exist at but in 2000, they would join the Emerging Nations Tournament that coincided with the world cup.
In 2002, they welcomed Scotland and Russia to Italy before facing Greece in 2003.
From there, they would continue to play regular matches and in 2008, the Federazione of Italia Rugby League was moved to ‘official observer’ status by the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) and that saw them enter the European Shield in 2008 and 2009 before stepping up to the European Cup in 2009.
In 2010, they would head to Britain and to Wrexham where they would take on Wales and pull of an incredible 6-13 win to record their first ever win against a British Isles nation.
That match was a warmup for the 2013 RLWC and they took that good form into the tournament with a big win against Wales in Cardiff, but they would then draw with Scotland and lose to Tonga to exit at the first hurdle in their first step up to the global stage.
Italy would face a tough qualification process for the next world cup after poor performance in the 2014-15 European Shield, but they would make it through and record a big win against the USA before losing heavily to Fiji and once again exited at the group stage.
Italy News Headlines
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Italy Rugby League News Update
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