Rugby World Cup: Italy sensation claims Wales never approached him

Posted by Xchange Tickets on October 4th, 2022

Polledri on Wales and England eligibility

Although he was qualified to play for both countries at the Test level, Italian rugby prodigy Jake Polledri stated he received no invitations to play for Wales or England.

The Gloucester back-rower has been a fixture for the Azzurri for a while; he made his debut in 2018 after playing for the under-20 team. However, his international career might have taken a different turn.

His late grandfather John was an English native who was first born in Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, before moving to Devon to work in an ice cream factory and meeting Jake's nan, a native of Rome. Polledri was born and raised in Bristol, where the couple eventually resided.

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Polledri discussed his choice of Rome over Cardiff or London when he appeared on the Offload.

“When I first broke into the Gloucester first team, Conor O’Shea approached me on the phone and said: ‘We have a big plan for the World Cup’," he said.

“To be given the opportunity to play international rugby and at a World Cup, I grabbed it with two hands and I’ve not looked back since. I don’t regret it at all."

When asked whether Eddie Jones had ever come calling, he answered with a curt ‘no’. “It was just Conor at the time. There’s never been anything from that side.”

As for Wales, he said: "Again, nothing from them. At the time there was just that one opportunity.”

Turnbull calls for form in back-to-back Welsh derbies

Following their second consecutive loss to the Lions on Friday night, Josh Turnbull has urged his teammates to turn things around in time for their back-to-back Welsh derbies.

The first half was won by Dai Young's team, but they missed several opportunities to score and ultimately paid the price.

Prior to hosting Dragons on October 15, Turnbull's team will next travel to Parc y Scarlets on the following Saturday.

We had opportunities in the first half that we could have taken advantage of more, he claimed. For us, the first-half possession and territory statistics were enormous.

“But we've just come off the gas little bit, five minutes towards the end of the first half and it obviously didn't help when Toby gets yellow carded. He was quite quick to yellow card him as well I think.

“Whether they've changed their mindset, they're just go in straight away, but second-half we had one opportunity and we come away with some points. I'm just a little bit gutted that we don't replicate that again.

“We probably need to get back to what we were like against Munster because that's how we imprinted ourselves on the game . And there's no better way to do that in derbies in the next couple of weeks, Probably too many times today we gave possession up too lightly.

“Derbies are won on fine margins and we didn't fare too well last year in the derbies. So we'll look to rebuild this week and get going. If you want European qualification, you've got to win your derby games, you've got to win that Welsh Shield.”

Will Rowlands 'immensely proud'

After the team defeated Cell C Sharks at Rodney Parade, Wales' star and Dragons captain said he was "immensely proud" of the group, but underlined winning matches is still the goal.

The Dragons put on a tenacious and passionate performance at Rodney Parade against a strong South African team, losing by one point at the end: 20-19. Second-row Rowlands was essential.

“We’re a million miles away from where we were at the beginning of the season," he said. "That is reflected in how disappointed everyone is.

“That is a marker for where we are now as a club. For 75 percent of the game, we did what we talked about, we were in control and squeezing them. We just need to grow in confidence and get used to how we see out these kinds of games.

“Round one seems like a long time ago. We have spoken as a group about a fresh start to the season and have moved on. I’m proud of what we have done the last two weeks, but we are not just here to compete. We are here to win games and that is one that has slipped away.

“There were just a few tiny areas where we let ourselves down, but we will learn and be better for this game. I’m immensely proud of the group and excited about the direction we’re going in."

The Dragons are back in action on Sunday, October 23, when they face the Ospreys at Rodney Parade after playing away at Benetton on Saturday, October 9, visiting Cardiff, then returning home on Saturday, October 16.

Glasgow coach rues Ospreys win

Pete Murchie, the assistant coach for the Glasgow Warriors, lamented the fact that his team missed opportunities against the Ospreys on Saturday.

With a much-improved performance that earned them a try bonus point in addition to their victory over the Warriors, Toby Booth's team banished the memories of the previous weekend's loss to the Lions.

Keelan Giles will undoubtedly garner attention for scoring two tries, but the Ospreys pack put out a rock-solid performance, and Rhys Webb managed affairs back there admirably.

Murchie advised his squad to use their opportunities with the ball more effectively, using the team's late burst to score two tries in the final five minutes as an illustration of the necessity to capitalise on momentum early.

“We’re all incredibly disappointed with that,” Murchie said. “Everyone in that changing room is hurting as that’s nowhere near the standards we set ourselves.

“The main thing we talked about in the changing rooms afterwards was focusing on how we stay in those games. We had to defend for a lot of the first half and we weren’t anywhere near accurate enough with the ball we did have.

“I thought we stood up to them pretty well, but the second half is a complete role reversal. We had so many opportunities and didn’t convert, and that gave them a little bit more life every time they kept us out. We then started chasing the game as individuals rather than staying tight as a collective, and that’s something we need to work on.

“The final scoreline was poor. There’s no getting away from that. The tale of the game is going to revolve around the mistakes we made, and we have to get better. There’s no two ways about it.”

Flanagan backs his players

After a close one-point loss to the Sharks, Dragons head coach Dai Flanagan urged his team to keep believing in themselves and playing what was in front of them.

After controlling the game for the majority of the time, a critical intercept score reversed the tide back in the South Africans' favour before a late try sealed the victory.

“The intercept was a key moment, but I will keep backing the players to play that way,” he said. “We had real momentum and if that pass outside goes to hand then we have got three men over.

“I will never want players to not make decisions and back themselves and Angus (O’Brien) has been superb all night. He has been excellent since he arrived, and I am going to back him every day of the week when we decide to make a play.

“We have got to keep backing each other because we are going to make mistakes, but that is life. We move on and we grow. We are a little bit sticky and made some errors, but I can’t say enough that these are good players. We need to keep believing because there are loads more in the tank for us.”

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