Italy coach backs his rising stars for NRL and Super League careers

Drew Darbyshire
Jake Maizen Italy PA European Championship

Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images

Italy coach Leo Epifania believes some of his rising stars are more than capable of forging careers in the NRL and Super League.

The Azzurri had a plethora of young talent in their World Cup squad this year, with the likes of Jake Maizen, Luke Polselli and Jack Campagnolo all impressing in their 28-4 win over Scotland.

Epifania was proud of his side’s efforts in the tournament as they bowed out of the group stages after defeats to Fiji and reigning champions Australia.

When asked if he thought the youth of Italy can make top-flight careers, Epifania replied: “We’d hope so. That’s another part to the tournament that players are able to put themselves on show.

“Motivation to perform – it can’t be anything much higher than the opportunities that they’ve just got. I think that there’s some quality in there.

“I don’t like to say that it’s 100% that things like that are going to happen but there are some quality players in there that some of the Super League clubs or NRL (should look at).

“There are some young boys in there as well, they’re not at the end of their career, they’re at the start of their career. You’d be thinking that they are only going to get better and we’d be happy as an organisation too for opportunities.

“We’ve spoken a lot about Mini (Anthony Minichiello) and Teddy (James Tedesco) who obviously played for Italy. I think Mini played for Italy before he played NRL. There are some great players who can come out of this, so I hope for the boys that opportunities present themselves.”

Italy fan SWpix

Italy fan celebrates his side’s try against Australia | Photo: Olly Hassell/SWpix

Nathan Brown “privileged” to captain Italy

An Italian international who is currently enjoying a successful career in the NRL is Nathan Brown, who captained Italy in his second World Cup.

“I’m very proud of the boys,” Brown said. “It’s been a good couple of weeks.

“It’s a proud moment for myself in being the captain and I couldn’t be prouder of the boys efforts. It is a privilege to lead the boys out there.”

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