Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
| Help
Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 06:32 GMT 07:32 UK
Azzuri stay in little league
Italy have played 12 matches at the World Cup and won three.

That tells the story of a side who have struggled to escape the label of rugby minnows since the very first tournament in 1987.

Since the last World Cup, they have become a Six Nations side and are now regularly playing top-class opposition.

Italy v England 1999
Played 12 - W:3 L:9
1987: Pool stage
1991: Pool stage
1995: Pool stage
1999: Pool stage
Although they have only won two matches in the European competition, there was a marked improvement in form last season.

The Azzuri have played at all four World Cups to date but failed to make it past the pool stages.

The results over the years have varied. From a 101-3 defeat in 1999 to a decent 31-25 victory over Argentina.

Losing 70-9 to New Zealand in their first ever World Cup game back in 1987 was not the ideal start, but they came back well from the drubbing with a good performance against Argentina, narrowly losing 25-16.

With the Italians already out, the final match against Fiji counted for little although the Europeans did not see it that way.

Tries from wingers Marcello Cuttitta and Massimo Mascioletti and prop Giancarlo Cucchiella were just desserts for some sterling work.

The 18-15 win was a slight surprise and the Italians continued their good form in the first match of the 1991 tournament with a comprehensive 30-9 victory over the United States.

Their next two matches were against England and New Zealand.

Although they lost, they did not disgrace themselves, as shown against the All Blacks when they held a very a strong side for much of the match before going down 31-21.

A win against Argentina four years later, again came a bit too late as far as making the quarter-finals was concerned.

And at the last World Cup the Italians were unlucky to be drawn against England and New Zealand for the second time in three tournaments.

Their narrow 28-25 loss against Tonga in the other pool game meant that the Azzuri came away with no wins.

Links to more Italy stories


Team-by-team analysis


E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs


Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | US Sport | Other Sport | Olympics 2004

Scores & Fixtures | Have Your Say | Photo Galleries | TV/Radio Listings

Fun and Games | Question of Sport | BBC Sport Extra

Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport