Italy Under-18s captain Piero Gritti believes a home Rugby World Cup would catapult the sport to a new level.
Gritti, 18, the son of former Italy star Andrea, captained his side in their final match of the Six Nations Under-18s Festival in Ireland, a campaign which yielded one victory and two defeats.
Following the news that the Italian Rugby Federation has backed its football counterpart in its bid to host Euro 2032, Gritti feels a home World Cup would have a transformative impact on the state of rugby in Italy.
“If we were to hold a World Cup, I think the movement would just grow and grow each year before and after the tournament,” he said.
“Hosting it in Italy could lead a lot more people to rugby and would help to grow the Italian movement.”
Gritti added that travelling players and supporters could look forward to a memorable stay in Bel Paese.
“The food is very good,” he joked. “The infrastructure is good and there is a lot of love from the people. There are nice places to play and everyone would enjoy it.”
Rugby’s Greatest Championship has long been a part of Gritti’s life, with his father having featured in Italy’s first ever Six Nations match in 2000.
And he admitted it would be a dream come true to be able to follow in his father’s footsteps and represent his country on the biggest stages.
“For as long as I can remember, rugby has been a part of my life,” he said.
“I watch the Six Nations every year and it has always been a part of my life, so it would be a dream come true.
“I love the competition as it’s one of the biggest tournaments in the world. The level is so high and everyone from Europe wants to play in it.”
The apple hasn’t fallen too far from the tree, with Gritti, like his father, a towering forward and calming influence on the pitch.
But the young buck, who prefers to play No.8 as opposed to the second row, admits there are a few differences in their playing styles.
“I prefer No.8 as I can play in the space more, have the chance to attack and don’t have to do as much dirty work,” he said.
“I am more free as a No.8 but I have to improve a lot to play there.
“My dad helps me a lot. When I was younger we were always talking and he was always teaching me something.
“He’s always supported me. A lot of what I know is from him but we are different players I think.
“Rugby has changed and it’s not the same sport now as it was then. He was good in lineouts and maybe a little weaker in the loose, I think I am the opposite.”
“I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity given to me by the coaches and I’m really thankful to have done it.”