This year’s Six Nations represents 20 years since Italy made their debut in the competition.
The Azzurri became the first new addition to the championship since France in 1940 at the turn of the millennium, and it has been a tough ride.
With the help of Opta, we look at the statistics behind Italy’s Six Nations journey before they begin the 2020 campaign at Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
Will it be an anniversary to celebrate?
At the bottom looking up
Since joining the competition in 2000, Italy have scored a total of 133 tries. Scotland have only touched down eight more times in that time frame, while England lead the way on 299.
The Azzurri have averaged the fewest carries (97.4), defenders beaten (10.96), metres made (323.25) and clean breaks (4.5) per Six Nations game.
Given the fact they are often facing a lot of pressure, it is unsurprising they lead the Six Nations with an average of 116.99 tackles per game.
However, they miss 19.1 per 80 minutes and consequently have the worst tackle success rate of all teams at 86 per cent.
“We are building our confidence in the new process….”
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) January 23, 2020
A record for futility
It is fair to say Italy have not enjoyed a great time of it recently.
The Azzurri have lost their past 22 games in the competition, representing the longest losing run in Five/Six Nations history, having last year surpassed the 17 straight defeats suffered by France between 1911 and 1920.
There had been signs of promise for Italy when they claimed the Wooden Spoon just once between 2012 and 2015, but they last year took it home for the fourth tournament in a row and 14th time overall.
Franco Smith will be hoping to end a winless streak that stretches back to 2015 and started after their second away victory in championship history, both of which have come against Scotland at Murrayfield. They face trips to Wales, France and Ireland this year.
0 – Italy were the only side not to score a first phase try in the 2019 @SixNationsRugby, they did however score more tries from 7+ phases of play (7) than any other side in the Championships. Opportunities. pic.twitter.com/7Gils7EB0H
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) March 17, 2019
While he is only expected to play home matches in his final Six Nations, Sergio Parisse has certainly left a mark on the competition.
He has made more appearances (69), carries (785) – surpassing his closest rival in that regard Brian O’Driscoll by almost 300 – and metres (3,088) than any other player in Six Nations history.
Only Alun Wyn Jones (580) has made more tackles than the Italy number eight (540), while he ranks third in turnovers (36) behind John Barclay (37) and O’Driscoll (53).
One of the all time greats on the pitch and a gentleman off it….Happy Birthday @sergioparisse!
140 @Federugby Caps
69 @SixNationsRugby Games
1 Italian Legend pic.twitter.com/9YFPVnNn4m
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) September 12, 2019
Parisse’s seven Six Nations tries put him joint-top of Italy’s all-time list with Mirco Bergamasco, a tally Tommaso Allan is just two shy of.
Bergamasco scored 17 of Italy’s 22 points when they beat France in the Six Nations for the first time in 2011 and reached 122 in the competition before making the switch to rugby league.
Only former fly-half Diego Dominguez, who booted 29 against Scotland in Italy’s maiden win in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2000, has more (162).
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