Rugby League World Cup Preview: Italy

A side that boasts an array of talent from both the Italian league and the NRL, it is perhaps one of the best Italian sides in recent years. Can they use that talent to excel at the World Cup?

Despite some off-field issues and conflicts around officialdom when it comes to the Italian rugby league organisations, the 2013 World Cup looms as an exciting one for the Italian side.

Boasting an impressive line-up with veterans such as Anthony and Mark Minichiello, Anthony Laffranchi and Aidan Guerra – among other talented NRL players – the side is one that has the potential to challenge on their day.

With a good mix of local talent in there as well, the side is relatively well balanced for the competition and on paper, should challenge the top sides at the very least.

Their group, whilst smaller, will still be challenging, as they come up against spirited and experienced sides in Scotland and Tonga. On paper, however, you would expect the Italians to come out on top in the group and progress.

Overall, they are a talented team with experience and promising, young players and if they all play to their potential and can finish top in the group stage, they may well go on to have a successful World Cup campaign.

Here’s the team I’d go with:
1. Anthony Minichiello
2. James Tedesco
3. Christophe Calegari
4. Fabrizio Ciaurro
5. Josh Mantellato
6. Ben Falcone
7. Ryan Ghietti
8. Paul Vaughan
9. Ray Nasso
10. Kade Snowden
11. Aidan Guerra
12. Anthony Laffranchi
13. Joel Reithmuller
14. Gioele Celerino
15. Sam Gardel
16. Mark Minichiello
17. Brendan Santi

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