Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Robert Barbieri - From Toronto to Italy

While Canada target two victories at Rugby World Cup 2011 there will be a Canadian targeting a Quarter Final. 27 year old Italian international backrower, Robert Barbieri, plays in the Italian backrow looks set to start in the number 7 shirt for the Europeans. Barbieri was born in Toronto, Canada and moved to Italy in 2003 to take up a professional contract with Overmach Rugby Parma for whom he played for from 2003-2007. Since that time, Barbieri has been playing for Treviso and is a two time Italian champion having won the national title in 2009 and 2010. With the formation of two Italian sides to play in the Magners League, now known as the RaboDirect Pro 12 to compete against the professional sides from Ireland, Scotland and Wales Benetton Treviso seized competing in the Italian championship which also changed its name from the Super 10 to the Campionato Nazionale Eccellenza.

Barbieri was retained by Benetton Treviso and went on to have a successful debut season in what was known as the Magners League. He was an important player for the side in what was a highly successful debut season which included wins over teams such as the Scarlets, Connacht, Munster, Leinster, the Glasgow Warriors, Aironi and the Newport-Gwent Dragons. His form saw him recalled to the Italian side where he filled the boots of the world class Italian backrower, Mauro Bergamasco for the November internationals vs Argentina, Australia and Fiji and then the Six Nations in February and March.



Barbieri decided to represent Italy after moving to the country from Toronto in 2003. He moved to be a professional rugby player after previously playing in Toronto for Yeomen from 2000–2003. His Italian debut came in 2006 vs Japan as Italy impressed in winning 52-6. Coincidently his brother, Michael Barbieri, debuted on the same day for Canada vs England which was played in Toronto. Barbieri went on to be selected for Rugby World Cup 2007 but missed out due to injury. He returned to face South Africa in Cape Town in 2008 but was subsequently dropped and only made the team again to replace Mauro Bergamasco in 2010. In his second game back he scored a try vs Australia as a replacement. His place in the team now appears certain following impressive performances in the wins over Fiji and France.

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