Rex Albinea Rugby League is one of the eldest clubs within the FIRFL movement and the team from Reggio Emilia will participate in the Championship organised by the Federazione Italiana Rugby Football League (Firfl) for a fifth time (2015 is the sixth season). Last year, the Emiliani again arrived one step away from snatching the Italian title from multiple-champions Gladiators Roma XIII in last year’s Grand Final and, from there will now need to start again from June.
Albinea coach, Luca Bigi (a professional rugby player) said: “Improving our second place is not easy, but we will try in every way to bring the Italian rugby league title to the North. In the past we have come close on several occasions to triumph (now three times), but the Gladiators have always shown to have something more. We hope to overturn the final outcome this year. “
More so, the bulk of the Rex Albinea team will remain unchanged. “We have some players from Reggio Rugby (a top Italian rugby club) and others from Lupi Canolo, and others training in various Reggio teams” says Bigi. He then explains: “The team is on average younger and has ample growth prospects, probably there will be some connections already, but we rely on the experience of those who have also played in the Eccellenza rugby (professional Italian Rugby Union competition) — including various players; Russotto, Lanzano, Caselli, Carbone and Vaki.”
Bigi then paid his compliments to the Federation for its work in recent years. “The code of rugby league is growing significantly, step by step. Events like the National Camp meeting at Vinci (in Tuscany) or the (international) friendly challenge that saw an Azzurri selection (Italia A) play in Kenya, which unfortunately our players they couldn’t participate because of rugby activities, representing an important step for raising the bar of the appeal of the whole movement.
The synergy that I’m noticing between the Firfl and the Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR – rugby union and sevens) – concluded Bigi – is definitely the best foundation for further development for this discipline in our country. Especially in the north, in regions such as Veneto, Lombardy and Piedmont we still have room for growth and it can work to see progress the whole movement of rugby league.”