The “Six Nations” tournament started just few days ago and our national team already got its first defeat against France.
A lot of critics have fallen on our national team even though less than one could expect. I think this happened because of the fact we have a new coach, the French Brunel, and he has got a little of patience from the Italian fans.
Rugby is not so popular in Italy, it started to spread just few years ago (less than 5) in almost every part of the Peninsula, while before that it was confined in few places with a strong and old tradition (Veneto, Abruzzo, etc.). Many children now are enrolled with rugby team something unbelievable just a couple of years ago. The rugby’s marketing has sold the product very well, who plays rugby is seen like an old gentlemen, a person devotes to fair play and to a pure discipline. Aspects of the culture like the nearly alcoholism of many players and the frequent fight on the pitch between players are underestimated since now.
Even our television fought a tough war to win the right to broadcast Six Nations matches, because they guarantee good results in the Nielsen’s ratings.
All this popularity is not all so good for the movement, because even though many new people are getting involved in the game, not all of them are happy with the results of our teams, both national and clubs.
Our national team usually ends at the bottom of the Six Nations, usually in the 5th place, and often lost all the game they played. But with the great visibility and the spread of the passion for the game the expectation of the fans have become bigger. While just a couple of years ago an honourable defeat in any tournament was seen like a good match and a good base for our future, now every defeat cause more people to mutter their disappointment.
This is what happened to our preceding coach the “kiwi” Mallet, perhaps not the most nice guys on heart but for sure not an idiot, who achieved some great victories (such as France last year), but lost many others; initially he had got the support of every fan and every media in Italy, then after some times he became to be criticised, a normal thing, then he became to be treated like an idiot and in the end all the media hated him and started to give to him all the guilty of the defeats.
Now I’m not a rugby pundit but it’s clear that our national team is weak, especially when we have to attack, I think that we have to grow up more before challenge for the victory.
But our new coach Brunel said recently that Italy could aspire to win the Six Nations in the next few years!
He seems a good man, skilful, good coach, willing, but honestly this is too much!
After the last week defeat against France no-one complained in the media, just few critics, about our destiny of losers; Italy has shown a willingness to attack France, some new youngster, our media replied with a cold support to the new project.
I hope for our new coach that he will manage to win at least one game (maybe against Scotland) to save him from the contempt of our media’s criticism, that could be very unpleasant.