Florentine rugby finesse
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Florentine rugby finesse

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Thu 01 Jun 2017 8:16 AM

After a 34-year exile I Medicei Rugby Club has won promotion to the top Italian division after a 38–14 playoff victory over L’Aquila. The team rejoiced alongside the 1,000-strong fans that made the trip from Florence to Parma, where the match was held, to witness the milestone. The win saw the team claim the Serie A (ironically the second tier) title and book a place in next year’s top league, which is called Eccellenza.

Although Florence has had a rugby team dating all the way back to 1931, I Medicei, the newest incarnation, are just two years old, and so the success marks not only the beginning of a new and ambitious project but also the culmination of years of passion. As team president and former player Giacomo Lucibello put it, the victory “is a dream for all of us kids who grew up at the Padovani {Florence’s rugby complex}.”

After the match the team celebrated with family and several of the club’s youth team players, and even Florence mayor Dario Nardella, who highlighted the importance of the victory for the city, saying, “This is an extraordinary day with Florence again a part of Italian rugby history. Rugby is a sport on the rise, and Florence is part of this movement.”

A tough task awaits the team next season as they will fight to stay in the Eccellenza division, but team captain Alessandro Ippolito is confident that the support of the city and region will help ensure their survival. “Now that we’re here, we’re here to stay,” he said.

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