“People Talk Because It’s Easy & Free – If You Put A Tax On It People Won’t Say It Any More”
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“We need better rugby.”
It’s been a tough few seasons for Italian Rugby with their national side continuing to struggle in the Six Nations and unable to score a rare victory no matter the opposition.
Conor O’Shea did his best to turn their fortunes around but was unable to restore pride in the jersey and with Georgia set to compete in the newfound Autumn Nations Cup – talk of them replacing Italy in the championship has once again become a hot topic.
Martin Castrogiovannit is one of Italy’s most famous players, having represented his country over 100 times before hanging up his boots back in 2016 and we spoke to the former Leicester Tigers prop this week to get thoughts on the Italian criticism teams like Georgia entering the Six Nations.
The 38-year-old said people talk “bullsh*t” because it’s free and believes that the Six Nations should be opening their doors to the likes of Georgia and other developing nations for the good of the game itself.
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Episode 9 has arrived featuring Gordon D'Arcy, Jamie Heaslip and Caelan Doris. 🎧🎙 –Jason & Jamie Heaslip look back on the Irish provinces in the PRO14 over the weekend and look forward to the European finals. 🏆 –Gordon D'Arcy on who should start in midfield for Ireland and the two best centres he's ever faced. 🤔 – Caelan Doris on the number eight he has looked to model his game on and what rugby must do to become a truly global sport. 😮 – Dissecting Andy Farrell's 35-man Ireland squad for the Six Nations. 🧐 – Joe Schmidt's new World Rugby role and the magic of the Bledisloe Cup. 😍 – Plus much more. Available now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more.
For him it’s not about replacing Italy with Georgia, it’s about bringing more teams in. But he’s not exactly optimistic in terms of that happening due to financial and political issues that continue to hold the sport back.
“People talk because it’s easy and it’s free,” Castrogiovanni told us.
“If you put a tax on the bullsh*t people say – they will not say it any more. But it’s a free world and you can say what you want.
“But my real point of view is I don’t think they want Georgia there. Because Ireland, England, no one wants to go to Georgia. They like to come to Italy because it’s Rome. That’s the real thing.
“Let’s get that on the table because I like to talk like that.
“But at the same time, you need all the other teams in the rugby world saying ‘we need better rugby’, you need to make all the other teams that are doing well like Georgia, Romania and Spain – all these teams that are working for a long time, they deserve it. Why won’t you bring them into the Six Nations?
“Because if you bring them to the Six Nations, the cake won’t be divided in six, it’ll be divided in ten.
“We can talk all night about what I think but the real thing is that.
“Sometimes it’s political, ‘vote for me and I will get you into the Six Nations’ because we know this happens.”
You can catch the full interview with Castrogiovanni on the next episode of the Up and Under Podcast.