The Italy national rugby union team competes annually in the Six Nations Championship against the other top rugby teams in Europe. The team is also known as the Azzurri (Azures).
Italy has been playing international rugby since 1929, and for decades were considered one of the best European teams outside the Five Nations Championship. Since 2000, Italy competes annually in the Six Nations Championship with England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. They were the holders of the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy for 2013, played annually against France. Italy is ranked 14th in the world by the IRB as of 22 April 2016.
Italian rugby really came to prominence in 2000 when it was added to the Five Nations, creating the Six Nations. Initially on the end of some heavy defeats, the side has grown in competitiveness, recording a fourth-place finish in 2007 and 2013, and even in defeat, lop-sided losses are less frequent. The Azzurri have shown respectable results when playing at home in recent years: during the 2011 Six Nations, the side defeated France 22–21, and in the 2013 Six Nations, Italy won again at home against France (23–18), and defeated Ireland 22–15.
Italy have also competed at every Rugby World Cup since the first tournament in 1987, where it played the inaugural game against New Zealand, but have yet to progress beyond the first round. The team has developed a reputation for being a consistent middle player at the tournament. Italy’s showings since the inception of a new group stage formula in 2003 have consistently followed a pattern where they managed two wins and two losses.
|5||Sunday, Sept. 22||Italy vs. Namibia||14:15||Hanazono Rugby Stadium|
|11||Thursday, Sept. 26||Italy vs. Canada||16:45||Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium|
|23||Friday, Oct. 4||South Africa vs. Italy||18:45||Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa|
|34||Saturday, Oct. 12||New Zealand vs. Italy||13:45||City of Toyota Stadium|
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