• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Italy's refugee rugby team tries for success
An Italian rugby team made up mostly of refugees have been admitted into Italy's Serie C1.Photo: Dave Griffiths/Flickr

Italy's refugee rugby team tries for success

The Local · 7 Jan 2016, 09:20

Published: 07 Jan 2016 09:20 GMT+01:00

The new outfit, Le Tre Rose from Casale Monferrato in Piedmont, was initially forbidden from playing in the Serie C league because federation laws state that each squad can only have one foreign player, Il Fatto Quotidiano reported.

The rules were designed to support the development Italian rugby talent at grassroots level, but they had blocked the team from starting the season as 80 percent of the squad is made of African refugees who have fled wars and persecution to find a better life in Italy.

The squad was therefore forced to spend two months petitioning the Italian Rugby Federation and the Italian Olympic Committee (Coni) in order to get the go-ahead to compete.

The rules were finally waived in December.

The rugby federation said that special dispensation had been granted for Le Tre Rose as the squad represented an important opportunity for social integration.

“Support and solidarity for friends are without doubt characteristics of the sport and so we accepted their request,” the federation's president, Alfredo Gavazzi, said.

“Our primary aim is to promote the game of rugby and through the game teach values typical of the sport.”

Although the team has permission to compete, it will be prevented from advancing to Serie B should it finish in the playoff positions at the end of the season - due to its extreme majority of foreign players.

However, here is little risk of the team finishing anywhere near the top of Serie C.

Most of the refugees playing for Le Tre Rose hadn't seen a rugby ball before setting foot in Italy and had to learn the game from scratch with the help of enthusiastic local players.

Story continues below…

In their first game, played at the end of December, the team lost 85-7 to Acqui Terme – one of the league's high flyers. They fared slightly better in their second outing against Novi Ligure going down just 37-0.

But clearly, at this stage at least, results don't matter.

“Above all else it's about playing,” club manager Luca Patrucco said. “Being here is already a miracle.”

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Former nuns to get civil union in northern Italy
The former nuns have asked for anonymity; this photo is representative only. Photo: Pexels

The nuns fell in love during a mission, and will get their civil union on Thursday.

Earthquake volunteer dies on way home from Amatrice
Amatrice was the town most severely damaged by the earthquake. Photo: AFP

The engineer had cut short his summer holiday to assist with the post-earthquake recovery.

Italy tests 3,500 children for TB after doctor diagnosed
The doctor had carried out vaccinations on thousands of small children. File photo: Pexels

The hospital stressed the tests were a "precautionary and preventative measure".

Ancient Roman coins unearthed at Japanese castle
The 4th-century copper coin found in Japan. Photo: Jiji Press/AFP

How the coins got there is a mystery.

Italy slashes growth figures ahead of crucial referendum
Matteo Renzi at a press conference last month. Photo: AFP

Italy's economy has barely grown since 1999 - hitting working and middle class voters hardest. Economists say Italy will struggle to hit even the "prudent" revised targets.

Italy professor: Students should plagiarize - teachers do
One of the university buildings. Photo: Maris Firsova

A professor at Italy's oldest university says teachers are granted "impunity" in case of plagiarism.

Pope cars auctioned off to help Syrian refugees
The cars have personalized number plates. Photo: AFP

Got a spare €9,000?

Renzi revives plan for a 'bridge to Sicily'
Renzi said the bridge would "bring Sicily closer". Photo: Sarah Murray/Flickr

The bridge was first dreamed up in the 1960's, but no prime minister has succeeded in bringing it to fruition.

‘Destitute’ private jet owner fined thousands for tax fraud
The private jet-owner claimed to have no income or property. File photo: Bob Adams/Flickr

He had a private aeroplane and eight homes.

Italian mayor refuses to officiate civil unions
A protest in favour of civil unions earlier this year. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

“Why can’t a mayor be a conscientious objector?”

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
Culture
Eight things you should know about Rome's Spanish Steps
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The incredible hero dogs of Italy’s earthquake
National
Why quake-hit Amatrice will never be the same again
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
2,523
jobs available