Saturday, November 9, 2013

Two Argentines set to reach 100 cap milestone for Italy

Italian Veterans Canale, Castrogiovanni and Parisse are all from Argentina
This November two Italians of Argentine descent and two of the best players in the world over the past decade are set to break the 100 cap barrier.

Argentine born Sergio Parisse, who grew up in La Plata with Italian parents, made his Italian debut aged just 18 as the third youngest Italian international of all time. He has been a permanent member of the Italy squad ever since and developed into one of the finest 8's of the professional era, playing 3 World Cups and has captained his country for over half his caps.

With him starting at such a young age and being such a good player, the achievements aren't likely to end at 100 caps. Barring injury, he looks certain to make a fourth World Cup in 2015 and it isn't out of the realms of possibility he could make Japan 2019 aged 36.

The other Argentine born player set to reach 100 caps is tighthead prop Martin Castrogiovanni. He made his debut in the same match as Parisse and the Italian side has rarely been seen without them in over the past decade.

Castro grew up in Paraná and played for both Argentina Under 19 and Under 21. However with Argentina having the likes of Omar Hasan, Mauricio Reggiardo and Martín Scelzo blocking his path into the national team at the time, it was clear that the path to a Pumas cap would not be quick, so Italy called first and Castro jumped at the chance to play. At one stage considered one of the finest props in the world, Castro's form has declined a bit of late and didn't have a great season struggling in the Six Nations and losing his starting place at Leicester. However he looked a lot better in June and won his place back from the tough challenge of Lorenzo Cittadini.

These two are of four players in the 90's approaching 100 caps for Italy with Mauro Bergamasco and Andrea Masi the others. Another Argentine Gonzalo Canale has 84 and Andrea Zanni has 77. Previously only Alessandro Troncon has reached the milestone for Italy but it is certain that he will soon be joined by a number of others.

Curiously, with Castrogiovanni and Parisse and the other much experienced players in the squad. There are quite a few players who are around the same age who starting coming into the squad around 2002/03. Italy need to be wary that they are prepared well for a possible spate of retirements as it is possibly they could lose a lot of experience in a short time. Which is concerning for them considering their junior team at U20 level is not impressing and got relegated from the Junior World Cup in 2012, whilst their U18 team has lost it's automatic qualification place in the European Championship after losing to Georgia for consecutive years.

1 comment:

  1. fuuny you mention Troncon. ave there been any other Italian born players who have ever impressed?
    Domiguez, Delape, etc ave all been ARG. Italy are teeves!