It comes the time, in the life of a young lady, when crying in front of the TV becomes a rite of passage. It's not about Titanic or Bridget Jones's Diary movies. It's when Italy beats France during Six Nations rugby tournament. Yes, France. The same France was about to win against the All Blacks during the 2011 Rugby World Cup final. The same France which literally ate Australia, Argentina and Samoa during the last November Test Matches. The same France that last Sunday bowed down before Azzurri who won 23-18 at Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
It's my first Six Nations as an immigrant in UK, therefore everything is new for me, every habit is a new habit. No Stadio Olimpico (or no Stadio Flaminio), no Rome, no friends to suffer for 80 minutes with. Somehow or other I would have satisfied myself with a pub, a handful of British guys ready to look down on me and the BBC with a 'partisan' commentary, because we are Italian so we don't understand anything about rugby. Over my wildest expectations, on the other hand, something happened.
First of all, we put our TV on mute during the French national anthem. If it's true that rugby is a sport with strong values and usually I am a person with exceptional fair play skills, this time I went for the mute button, sorry French mates.
Italy started pressing a lot, bloody pushing the French. And like a screenplay we thought: "We gotta suffer so much during the second half. The team always breaks down, as usual." But instead it didn't happen at all. I've never seen Italy playing so good. France just stayed and watched the game. They tried to do something, but Brunel warned us all: "We must impose our play, not be subjected to the opponent," he said. The Pyrenean gentleman has pulled out of his basque a pressing, domineering and determined Italy pretty able to unravel any psychological struggles which have always screwed over the team, in a way or another.
And if Jacques Brunel's (big) credit consisted in leading Italy to make a qualitative leap that many people didn't consider possible, I would give props to those 23 lads with wide shoulders and hypertrophic femoral biceps who trod Olimpico's grass. There's the whole team in Parisse and Castrogiovanni's tries, from Favaro and Minto's tackles to our royal scrum, including our backs who hazarded and played. And they looked like they were having fun as well, like maybe we have never seen before.
And then it comes the 172 lb of Luciano Orquera, the man of the match, who has slapped all his detractors with his last performances wearing the Italian jersey. Now, I don't know if Luciano drunk some secret potions or if the coach left him full scope of doing whatever he wants, so he started doing whatever he wanted for real, by making up things and seeing amazing running lines in a very Conrad Smith style. That's the way we like Orquera anyway, and if anyone reading sees him, please do kiss him on my behalf.
BBC commentary showed respect toward us. Finally even British people take us seriously, such an achievement for us. My sister watched the game with a French commentary, and said that even French guys admitted our superiority with a great fair play. I almost regret the moment when I pushed the mute button during their national anthem. Also Sir Jonny Wilkinson congratulated us on our attitude. Even him, the greatest number 10 ever.
Many complimentary things for Italy have been said by everybody. What a beautiful thing for us. It sounds like an electoral slogan, but it's time to quit the so called 'honourable defeats' for good. We are grown up and of age. It's like we have the driving licence knowing that we oughtn't drink if we have to drive. It comes the time of awareness for Italian rugby team. It's about time though. Bring it on guys.