Murrayfield and Croke Park

by Lorenzo Piccoli


After a thrilling finale Italy today beat Scotland 22-19 to return to the victory in the Six Nations after a streak of seven match – last win was March 16 2013 against Ireland, 22-15. It was an exceptional ending with Italy pushing hard for the try and getting it done a few seconds to the end. There are quite a few things I will remember: the stubborn attacks by the Italian side when everything seemed lost, our captain crying on the grass after the try, the colorful play-by-play of the duo Munari – Raimondi (thank you Dmax for showing the matches free to air), and the gentlemanly behavior of the Scottish captain Greig Laidlaw.

 

This is our second victory in Murrayfield against Scotland. The other time was 2007 and I still remember that match: it ended 17-37 and Italy scored three tries in the first six minutes in what might well go down as the most devastating start of a match the tournament ever recorded. It was delightful. And it was also the first away victory ever for the Italian crew since they were admitted in the Six Nations – previously Five Nations – in 2000. It was February 25, 2007.

The same day another match was played in Dublin. Ireland-England was a historically important game because it was the first time rugby was played in Dublin’s biggest stadium since 1920. Croke Park had become worldwide famous in November 21 1920 when the Black and Tans of the Royal Irish Constabulary, supported by members of the British Auxiliary Division, opened fire on the crowd at a Gaelic football, killing fourteen civilians. Football and rugby were henceforth banished from Croke Park, as well as English flags and symbols. The ban was finally lifted in 2007 and the authorities bravely allowed the match against England to be played. So on February 25 a hugely emotionally charged match was played. There were legitimate fears of violence and riots on the bleachers. But the Irish supporters surprised many by respectfully observing the British national anthem, God Save The Queen. That day, the Irish team surprised even more by beating bookmarks-favorite England 43-13 in what was a record number of points taken in a single match in the history of English rugby.

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