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Mar 18 13 8:04 PM

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Saw the final round of 6 nations matches at the weekend and wondered what happened to Italy, aren't they supposed to be pushovers in this tournament? Not a huge rugby fanĀ andĀ haven't been watching every game, so I can really only comment on reputation.

I know it was close from 3rd to 6th this year, but 4th is still a huge achievement for them (as is nearly selling out the Stadio Olimpico), is it their best-ever finish? They have the odd few shock results, so was this just a fluke of having 2 wins in one year?

In other news, congratulations to Wales on their performance and win on Saturday. Being half-Welsh, this is a situation like in all sports for me, if I'm happy to see England lose to anyone and all that...
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#1 [url]

Mar 19 13 2:31 AM

It's generally expected that Italy are going to finish 6th, but they've won at least 1 of their 5 matches in every year since 2007 (apart from 2009). In 2007, they finished 4th as well, and they've finished 5th a few times. They're 12th in the world. Ireland and Scotland are 9th and 10th, for example, so it's not a great upset if Italy beats them at home.

They've never beaten England, but their home games v England have been very close recently (15-19, 12-17, 19-23 in 2012, 2010 and 2008).

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#2 [url]

Mar 19 13 10:04 AM

The improvements of the Italian rugby have been quite evident in the last few years. But we have to consider an important detail. The Italian squad is full of naturalized players, coming from South America and Oceania. Without their contribution, the Italian rugby wouldn't have improved its level.

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#3 [url]

Mar 19 13 2:29 PM

The other 5 nations have naturalized players too, perhaps not so many as Italy.
It is becoming progressively harder to score tries in rugby, so the margins of victory are reduced, and more "upsets" are possible.

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