T Nation

Rugby, Life in Italy & Personal Challenges


Buon Giorno/ Kia Ora.

Am a 23 year old New Zealander living in Italy playing Rugby professionally.

Height 6'10
Weight 110kg (or 242 pounds for you Americans).

Training consists of.....
Four 1.5 hour running/scrum/lineout sessions a week.
Gym three to four sessions depending on how tough game was. (Currently doing the superman programme third week in).
80 min game.
Recovery session in pool.

My main goals.....
Add roughly 10 pounds of LMM over next four months. (Have ordered precision nutrition to sort out my biggest weakness).
Increase my strength levels in that time by 20 percent.

Also noticed a growing interest in Rugby here so may be able to help with questions etc.

For myself I am gonna keep a blog of trainings and experiences, this will be for my motivation as well as for your entertainment.

Challenge number 1.

My Body fat will be measured by our trainer in two weeks if it is above fifteen percent I promise to punish myself (for years of gross negligence and cheat meals) with a small can of jellimeat. That better fire me up for sorting my shit out.
(Thanks for the idea Dan John.)

Will post pics either way then.


hey mate, sorry to hijack your topic, but how difficult do you think it would be to come out of the highest level of Brittish University Rugby and try out for Italian Professional Rugby?




that's great. love to hear all about it.

how is italy for rugby? was there much interest in the 6 nations? who do you play for?


Hey Aviv,

Good chance depending on:

1 What position you play, Italian teams generally look for certain positions.
Good- Fly half, Second Row (not many tall guys in Italy play rugby), Number Eight.
Bad- Front row generally they buy in Argentinians because they are cheaper.

2 Your size. Italians are pretty much of the mindset the bigger the player the better.

3 The club level you play at.

4 What Passport you hold as each team can only have a certain amount of foreign players.

I am guessing you played for British Universities against Italia A last month in Sardinia. If so make sure you get a copy of that game.

I would get onto it pretty quick smart as the market for players is starting to get busy now.

Let me know your details and I will enquire with my agent what your chances are.

Italy is a great place to develop your strength and start out professionally.

Great country except for the bloody Italians.


Joe Murphy wrote,

that's great. love to hear all about it.

how is italy for rugby? was there much interest in the 6 nations? who do you play for?

It has been an interesting year for me rugby wise. I had to get used to the fact that the Italians don't do rucking, fighting is ok but rucking is a big no.

To get away from anti-doping officials you pretend to break your neck and go to hospital. Have not needed to try this myself.

The standard of rugby is largely reduced by the quality of the referees. I know that sounds whiny but they don't understand the rules and there is no consistency each week. The Refs are volunteers who mostly havn't played before.

There was a fair bit of interest in the six nations the Italian Rugby Federation is doing a lot to promote the sport. But football (Soccer) is number one by a long way here.

I play for Colorno in Serie A, we are coming third in the championship.

Any chance that you went to the International Rugby Academy in New Zealand last year??


Awesome to have a Kiwi lock on the site.

6"10" and 245? Damn. I'm 6'2" 200 and currently play flanker although coach wants to move me to lock. I think I'm a bit thin through the middle for the position so I'm going to try to move up to 225 or so for next season.

Staley's article about going back to basics might be helpful to you, and Dan John's about the Litisprints sounds tailor made for Rugby to me.

Ruck Over!!!!!!!!!


I'm italian!!understand serie a is the second level, super 10 is the first..I had a brief stint training with a serie a team and coming from serie c,not great technical differences, and referees the same..the top league is super 10, where there are the best referees also, th amain matches are telecasted live and have good referre, even international ones..


Yeah Sean those litisprints sound mean. We do similar sort of thing on scrum machine, push hard then sprint 30 metres or add a few rucks. Do this 15-20 times and my legs can barely jump in the lineouts.

Sounds like rugby is taking off a bit in America how many leagues are there?? I played against a lock last week who plays for Canada, the guy was 6'7-6'8 was strange to play against a guy of similar height.


Ciao Eroszag.

Yeah I agree the difference between skill levels in Serie A and Serie C doesn't appear to be large. Size, and speed difference is very noticable though due to more professionals playing in Serie A.

Last week we played Overmach who are one of the top two teams in Italy this year. Our guys played out of their skin in the first half and the score was only 12-5 to them, in the second half they took the game away from us to win 36-5. They were pretty classy in the backs and had better conditioning in the forwards.

Was great to play with Referees that controlled the game well. Surely helped let the skills of both sides be seen.

Isn't that a great feeling in Rugby though to come up against a team that should whoop your butts by 80 points and to play really hard and well together to scare them shitless.
I bet they got a flogging by their trainers on Tuesday.


What do you mean they don't ruck? The refs just announce possession in a hurry? Only been playing a year and a half but this sounds kind of weird to me.

Would enjoy reading an ongoing blog about Italian rugby though.


Yeah basically if the ref catchs you rucking you get yellow carded. Crazy stuff.

Hopefully next season I will be playing in either Top ten or in Division two for France. Looking forward to rucking again.

Anyone here tryed precision nutrition whilst playing rugby, had good results?? I try to follow JB 7 habits but at the moment only averaging about 70% strict compliance. Aim to get it up to 90% over the coming weeks.

Might also need to do a few extra mornings sessions to avoid eating jellimeat.


Would love to hear Anthony Roberts views on gear use in professional Rugby.
Being he is an ex rugby player an an expert on gear.
The increase in size of a lot of these top flight guys in the past five years is astounding.


Bizarre. Here in America all we do is ruck!


I dont think he means ruck in the traditional sense of recycling the ball but rather to ruck someones head off when they slow/kill the ball. Perfectly acceptable imo.
One thing i was impressed with in the 6 nations was Italy's dynamic/rolling mauling - do you see much of this at the level you play at?


Good luck with that French DII...I have played with a few guys who played in that league and the lower leagues in France are about as dirty and cheap as it gets...not that the Italian leagues are much better I'm sure...

The refereeing in the US Super League is just very inconsistent more than anything; calls change throughout the game. It's a gigantic pain in the ass, especially at the tackle situation


Kia Ora. I played for East Coast Bays, in the North Harbour Province.

Just to give everyone here an idea, the Italian National side toured New Zealand in a World Cup year and lost to most Provincial Sides they played.


Hey Natelock, cool topic, looking forward to following your season.

Have to agree with sledge, the reffing in the US is appalling. In their defense though there is no real development system and no professionalism. It makes it difficult to improve as a player with so much inconsistency, but enough crying! Looking forward to hearing about your season, and bulk up boy! I guess that might effect your lineouts though. I play loose forward at 6'2" 235. 6'10" though, Jesus, how tall is your other lock?


Yeah, French rugby has that reputation in general.


This board seems to be full of American lovers of the game of rugby. Who should we be looking out for at the 07 world cup from your shores?


It is so hard to follow the Eagles especially if you live in the east.