After losing every game in this year’s Six Nations by at least 40 points and having not won a game in since 2015, surely Italy’s time in the Six Nations is all but done. Here are five reasons why that just may be the case.
It’s just not competitive
Since joining the Five Nations in 2000 to make it the Six Nations we know today, the Italians have only won 12 games in 21 years, losing 95 and drawing 1.
To add insult to injury, they have been the recipient of the wooden spoon 16 times (the team that finishes last in the Six Nations) including a current streak of 6 in-a-row.
Italy’s existence in the competition is and has always been flawed. After losing all their games, for the sixth year in a row, it is time to simply save them the embarrassment. You can’t imagine how demoralising it must be for players in that side and knowing you’re up against it week in and week out, they’ve only won six games in the last decade and simply put enough they are not up to a standard where they merit a place in the competition.
Time away from the Six Nations could benefit them
Leaving the competition all together may not be the worst thing for the Mediterranean side. Leaving aside it’s overall quality, the Italy team is a real concoction of old and young emerging talents. Gaining experience against some of the best sides in the world every year can be seen as a massive positive but when the results are 40/50 points landslides every week, it surely can’t be beneficial for the young Italian players.
Time away from the competition to help them gain form and a cohesion amongst their new crop of talents may truly be the best thing to help resurrect their dull turn of form.
Georgia are suitable replacements
In hindsight, this seems like the perfect swap. Italy have evidently been struggling in the Six Nations whilst Georgia have been excelling in the inferior Rugby Europe Championship, winning 3 titles on the bounce and a further 8 of the previous 10 when it was known as the European Nations Cup.
In addition to that, Georgia have actually surpassed Italy in the rugby world rankings, climbing to 12th whilst Gli Azzuri are lumbering in 15th.
What’s to say after so much success in the tier below that Georgia couldn’t use more of a challenge and alongside that provide more of a challenge in the Six Nations.
The promotion and subsequent demotion of them and the Italians makes perfect sense to all rugby fans. Georgia’s results against Wales, Ireland and England in the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup may have all ended in defeat but they were still much closer than that of the Italy’s
Sergio Parisse is sorely missed
The Italians have never been blessed with the most gifted rugby players but the gaping hole left by their influential captain Sergio Parisse has been visible to all.
In an otherwise struggling side, the Argentine born flanker’s leadership and courage were praised throughout his lengthy tenure in international rugby. Three years after his retirement the Italians look completely and entirely devoid of any real fight or will to turn around their baron run.
Following this, the departure of Parisse also signifies a real dip in the quality of the Italians. No player amongst their current ranks looks good enough to match the former Stade Francais man’s output and effect.
Their departure makes the Six Nations way more competitive
The emergence of France as a rugby superpower has made the Six Nations entirely more competitive. Years ago it was generally seen as the home nations cup whilst France and Italy were the proverbial “whipping boys” of the tournament. This year has seen that everyone can beat each other and all the teams have genuine chances of achieving greatness at the 2023 World Cup.
It can’t be preached enough how out of their depth Italy are currently given the prowess of all the other teams. Games between all the other teams have generally been close whilst Italy have been getting blown out of the water for years.
Their departure and a return to the “Five Nations” would be highly coverted.