Minichiello: World Cup still a success for Italy

Captain Anthony Minichiello says the World Cup has still been a success for Italy, despite missing out on the quarter-finals.

The Azurri were beaten 16-0 by Tonga in their final group game on Sunday, which meant that Scotland progressed to the last eight at their expense.

Italy had previously caused a major upset, defeating England 15-14 in a warm-up game, and opened the World Cup with a confident 32-16 win over Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

That was followed by a 30-all draw with Scotland in Workington, but the points dried up at The Shay.

Minichiello said: “We believed we could get through with the group we had, and our goal was to top the group, so the boys are pretty disappointed.

“We got ourselves in the position where we could come to this game and go through, but our completion rate was poor, and we couldn’t build any pressure.

“It’s still been a success for Italy. It’s our first World Cup, and we only lost one game, and beat England as well, so that was a bonus. It created a lot of interest back in Italy, and that’s needed to make rugby league stronger.

“Carlo came to me two years ago to see if we could make the World Cup. I played alongside Carlo when I was a young kid and we didn’t make it, so I jumped at the chance this time. It was a great opportunity to represent the heritage of my family. 

“I was excited two years ago and I was excited to come on this trip. It was great to play with (brother) Mark, and to come over and tour England with him has been fantastic; I wish I’d had the chance to play more games with him.”

Minichiello also revealed that he would always be willing to talk to Super League clubs about a permanent move to the UK.

He is out of contract with Sydney Roosters, his club for the past 14 years, and is yet to commit for 2014.

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