The fortunes of the Italian rugby team continue to play out as much in the PR world as they do on the playing field, and recently Italian television viewers had the chance to see a few of its star players, including Mirco Bergamasco, strip on television, dancing to “Hot Stuff” from the Full Monty soundtrack.
The routine was part of the Let’s Dance television show, which in itself was a total flop, but the Italian public who actually watched it would have got to see Rome’s football team, with some attractive Italian football players, battle it out with the rugby trio. The not-so-unattractive Marco Borriello won the competition heading up the Roma team, but take a look at the pics of the Bergamasco brothers from their Italian rugby calendar, along with the tv strip show, and tell me if it wasn’t a tough contest.
The national Italian rugby team has done the sensible (or silly?) thing of choosing a hot Italian showgirl as its ambassador. What Melita Toniolo knows about rugby is anyone’s guess but we figure that’s not the purpose. In fact, Melita herself says she doesn’t know much about the sport, but that it’s definitely more masculine than football.
Italian rugby is enjoying a renaissance locally at the moment and the presence of Melita as ‘madrina’ should only serve to boost publicity… among the unitiated though. For those in the rugby know there is some concern that Melita’s general volgarity is not what you’d expect for a sport famous for its strong code and sophisticated game. See the gallery and check out the video on the Gazzetta website to see what you think.
This is a case where the adage “winning isn’t everything” is very true. Italy might be a football-mad nation in which other sports hardly get a look-in, but on the weekend a remarkable example of how Italian tastes and passtimes are changing took place. The high passion, tradition and grand past of rugby union was all the rage on the weekend with the Azzurri playing the All Blacks.
The Italy-New Zealand rugby match at Milan’s San Siro stadium on Saturday night saw a record crowd of about 80,000 people attend. Italy lost 6-20, though New Zealand only scored one try, winning the other points on penalties. Controversy surrounds the closing minutes of the match, with talk that Italy was robbed of a technical try that it should have been awarded. If you think that it doesn’t matter because Italy wouldn’t have won anyway, you don’t understand the great pride the Italians have in the opportunity of playing against a team they consider to be one of the greats in international rugby, and therefore also the great honour that would result in scoring a try.
The “All Blacks” hold an enormous fascination for Italians, more than any other rugby playing national team in the world. The haka is something compelling for the Italians, although the national anthem “Fratelli d’Italia” was something to send shivers down your spine on Saturday. With foreign irony at the stadium regarding the Italians inability to queue or doing anything in an orderly fashion, it was a meeting of two different cultures at a sports match which will be remembered by who was present for a long time yet.
Italy lost its rugby union match to hosting side Australia on the weekend, in a final score of 31-8. While the home side dominated, Italy’s Azzurri did show moments of spark, scoring a try in the second half of the match by putting Kaine Robertson over the line.
In what seemed to be a non-native Italian side, former Australian league player Craig Gower appeared in a test debut for the Italians, engineering that second-half try. In what were freezing conditions in Australia’s capital Canberra, Italy struggled to find its half-back rhythm.
While Italy’s defence held more or less throughout the game, they’re lacking in inspiration in attack, with the frontliners working hard but little imaginative back-up from behind. The two sides meet again on June 20 in Melbourne.
Italy’s six nations rugby union campaign is underway, but the initial results are not positive. Italy lost to England 11-36 in the opening match of the tournament, despite an unimpressive game by the English.
In the second match against Ireland this weekend, Italy lost 9-38 with points scored only on penalties. While Ireland was said to have been “erratic” and the game “scrappy”, Italy needs to start capitalising on its opponents’ mistakes.
Italy is set to meet Scotland on February 28 in a match that might give them some hope of not taking home the wooden spoon this time round. Scotland has been doused by both France and Wales, giving Italy the chance to either come off with a victory or get a few tries on the board.
Photo | Flickr
Dolce and Gabbana have discovered some new protagonists for their latest ad campaign in some sexy Italian players….but not footballers. For the latest Dolce & Gabbana underwear ad, Italian rugby players are gracing posters throughout Milan and elsewhere, dressed only in their jocks.
Italian rugby is experiencing a greater following as people start to appreciate the game more, and them team discovers it won’t always be left holding the wooden spoon. It’s not the first time Italian rugby has indulged in a ’sex sells’ campaign, after a 2006 Italian rugby player calendar called “Angeli del rugby”.
Angels or not, the extreme masculinity of rugby is undergoing a renaissance in Italy and is perhaps closer to their notions of macho Latin style than some of the prima donna antics of Italian football players. For more pics of the Italian rugby players, go to the Ohlala mag site.
Source | Ohlala