Barrow Raiders prop Anton Iaria says it would be a ‘dream come true’ if he got to represent his Italian heritage at this year’s World Cup.
The 26-year-old joined Barrow ahead of this season on a one-year deal and has made a big impression in the Championship so far.
Iaria played for Penrith Panthers in the New South Wales Cup last year before the season as suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The powerhouse front-rower was born in Australia, but is of Italian heritage through his grandparents. He has already won four caps for Italy and is hoping to play in this year’s World Cup.
When asked if he wants to play in the World Cup, Iaria told Love Rugby League: “Without a doubt. First and foremost, my priority is going as far as we can with Barrow.
“Ideally, we want to make the play-offs, and anything can happen from there.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it was also a goal of mine to represent Italy at the World Cup. I think it’ll be a by-product of playing well for Barrow.
“It’d be an absolute dream come true. I know it’ll mean a lot to my family back home in Australia.
“To put on that jersey and represent my heritage and where my grandparents come from, it symbolises the journey of their lives. Hopefully I can pay my respects back to them.”
Earlier this season Iaria came up against fellow Italy international Ryan King, who plays for Barrow’s Cumbrian rivals Whitehaven. Both players want to represent their Italian roots this autumn.
— FIRLA (@FIRLA_xiii) February 9, 2022
Italy background in World Cup
Italy are drawn in a group alongside Australia, Fiji and Scotland in this year’s World Cup.
The Azzurri team was stacked full of talent for the last World Cup in 2017, featuring the likes of Terry Campese, Daniel Alvaro, Nathan Brown, Josh Mantellato, James Tedesco and Paul Vaughan.
However, Cameron Ciraldo’s side didn’t make it out of the group stages. They battered the United States 46-0 but lost to Fiji 38-10 and Ireland 36-12. Iaria will be hoping to help Italy reach the knockout stages in this year’s tournament.