By: Tiziano Franchini, Date: 26/5/13
With just a few days after the official presentation of the new Florence RL team, another tuscany team joins the race for the title of Italian Champion Rugby XIII: The Sharks Tirreno.
The Tuscan franchise, is a selection of players from the tirrenica coast, mainly from Piombino, Livorno and Cecina, but it is open to any players from any club wishing to try their hand at rugby league.
The Sharks will take part in the first phase of the tournament against teams from Florence, Modena and Parma in a central pool which in its first year of activity already promises to be a good spectacle.
We spoke with Edward Pescucci, founder of the club, which for its first year will play the role of player-coach.
What prompted you to start a club rugby league in Cecina?
“The idea was born a couple of years ago with two friends, who like me wanted to try rugby league, then for my study, I moved to England, and the project was temporarily shelved. This year, however, after playing with the university team which I enjoyed a lot, I decided it would be nice to give this opportunity to my former teammates and to all those who want to try it. “
What are the most important differences with respect to the rugby at 15?
“First, it is much harder! And you run around three times as much, there is a lot of contact and the impacts are very hard, at least here in England, but is also very enjoyable because of course there is more space to attack and more freedom of movement. I had to learn a lot to adapt to league especially in defense because that’s what makes the difference, but definitely its worth it because all the skills are transferrable and applicable to 15 a side rugby. “
Do you feel ready for this adventure as coach after a year of experience in rugby league?
“Absolutely. This year at Coventry University I was lucky enough to have been coached by Alan Robinson, former Irish international who played professionally in France and England, as well as having coached Ireland, before becoming development officer for the RFL (the English federation) and founder of the Coventry Bears.
He is someone who knows his stuff and has a lot of experience: everything I know about rugby league is thanks to him, if there is one thing he taught me, it is to do the simple things well, and that is what we do with the Sharks this year.
What are your expectations of your team and the championship?
“Honestly, I do not know all the teams, but i am sure it will be a baptism of fire at home to Florence, although new to the championship they have a mix of experienced players such as Azzuri internationals Segundo and Nannini and good young quality players.
Also we have some good players in the team, and I am convinced that if the boys take it seriously and are willing to learn, there is no opponent that we should fear.
The incentive to do well for all of the Shark’s players is the possibility to gain a place in the Italian national team that will play the Euroshield (Italy, in fact play this year against Russia, Germany and Serbia) before the World Cup in October in England.
I think the honor of representing Italy should be enough to encourage each player to do their best in every game and training!
One last question: what will be the biggest challenge for the Tirreno Sharks?
“It has to be the logistics: the team is made up of players from all across the province, and to meet the commitments of all players who will need to travel for trainings will be the biggest challenge, so we will need the cooperation of all team members.
We have chosen to play our home games at the field of Via Settembrini in Livorno for two reasons: first of all because the Livorno rugby club has shown itself to be very helpful and immediately interested in the project, in fact I would like to take this opportunity to thank sporting director Maximum Milianti and coach Diego SaccÃ for their kindness and support, and secondly, objectively speaking it is the best field we have in the area, and the passion for rugby that the people from Livorno have is second to none.
As for trainings, we will try to alternate them depending on the availability of the rugby clubs and the players themselves.
Of course, anyone who wanted to show their support of the Sharks, as a player or helping in any other way is invited to get in touch with us on Facebook or e-mail: tirrenosharks.rlfc @ gmail.com,