Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Italy's Mauro Bergamasco hails brother Mirco after reaching World Cup milestone

Mauro Bergamasco has hailed brother Mirco for helping him become just the second player to reach five World Cup finals - despite his sibling missing the 2015 tournament.

Veteran Italy flanker Bergamasco joins former Samoa centre Brian Lima in reaching a fifth World Cup competition, the 36-year-old appearing at every tournament since 1999.

Bergamasco's 32-year-old brother Mirco was overlooked by Italy boss Jacques Brunel, though, leaving the elder sibling paying tribute to the strength of family ties.

"Sixteen years ago I certainly wouldn't have thought it possible, it was just tough thinking about playing in my first World Cup," said Mauro Bergamasco.

"I have had to do a lot to reach this fifth one; I've worked hard and I have had the support of the other players and the staff.

"Now I am here, my objective is to play, to help the group and hopefully we can enjoy ourselves.

"I am sad that Mirco isn't here alongside me, because since 2002 it has been good to have the two Bergamascos alongside one another.

"He has helped me a lot and if we achieve good results I will definitely dedicate them to him."

Centre Gordon D'Arcy could have joined Mauro Bergamasco and Lima in reaching a fifth tournament, but the evergreen centre was omitted from Ireland's final squad by head coach Joe Schmidt.

Imposing centre Lima graced every World Cup from 1991 until 2007 with Samoa, earning the nickname "The Chiropractor" for his spine-realigning tackling style.

Flanker Mauro Bergamasco has won 104 caps since his 1998 debut for the Azzurri, in a career that has included eight years with French giants Stade Francais.

Italy will open their Pool D campaign by facing France at Twickenham on Saturday, with Zebre back-rower Bergamasco expecting a fierce tussle against Les Bleus and captain Thierry Dusautoir.

"We've seen France playing well against England and Scotland and they've done very well to win two out of their three preparation matches," said Bergamasco.

"We know France well and we will have to find something else to beat them at Twickenham, but it certainly won't be easy.

"Dusautoir is a complete player; a great defender, but someone who carries the ball very well.

"When he does something special on the field, either in defence or attack, it galvanises the team and they all follow him.

"He is a leader on the field, a complete player, physically and technically, and a rallying point for the whole team."


From Belfast Telegraph