'You'd think we won the World Cup'
REACTION: Ange Capuozzo revelled in Italy’s first-ever Six Nations win in Wales on Saturday, saying that ending a seven-year losing streak in the tournament proved the team are “not dead”.
The 22-year-old France-born player starred in his team’s last-gasp 22-21 victory, with Italy finishing the tournament on a positive note despite propping up the table.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet, it will little by little,” Capuozzo told AFP. “It’s a beautiful achievement.”
Italy’s future in the tournament has been called into question after a 36-game losing streak stretching back to 2015.
“The main objective of this team that we are building is to gain the respect of the world of rugby,” continued fullback Capuozzo after his second cap, having made his senior debut against Scotland last month.
“It’s very important to show that we are not a dead nation.
“We must not forget that we are playing in this tournament against the best nations in the world, the other five nations are in the world’s top eight.”
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 20, 2022
In their final match of the 2022 competition, it seemed the Azzurri were about to be condemned to a 37th successive loss as reigning champions Wales led 21-15 heading into the 79th minute.
But Capuozzo’s brilliant break led to a try for wing Edoardo Padovani, who went under the posts to make the conversion easier for Paolo Garbisi.
“It was like a black hole, it was going so fast,” said Grenoble player Capuozzo, who will join Top 14 giants Toulouse next season.
“I just have emotions in my head. An indescribable joy that we don’t often experience, maybe once in a career! It’s a special victory.
“This is the result of the work of the last few weeks. The results didn’t go our way but the performances were good. Against France [10-37], we had been performing well in defence for a long time. Against Scotland [22-33], we had found our mark offensively.
“On Saturday we simply managed to put all the elements together. We were clean in all areas of the game.”
The Azzurri celebrated their first win in the Six Nations since a 22-19 success away to Scotland in 2015.
“Marius Goosen, our defence coach, has been there six years and won his first Six Nations game, you’d think we’d won the World Cup!,” said Italy head coach Kieran Crowley.
“I’m just really proud, there was a bit of adversity and sickness in the camp this week.
“They dug in and kept playing, believing. [Our] defence was outstanding and they stuck at it.
“We had some measures to measure ourselves by, not the results, and this gives us a base going forward now.”