Rugby clubs in Italy and England have made headlines after they banded together to stem organized crime attacks against the Italian side.
Briganti Librino, a club based in the Sicilian city of Catania, were recently attacked by arsonists and burglars, prompting Bolton Rugby Union Football Club to come to the aid of their Italian counterparts.
Mafia is said to be behind the attacks
The Mafia was accused of being behind these attacks and Bolton offered to fly Briganti’s young players to England. Catania is a city where organized crime and poverty are high and the rugby club was formed to support the youth of the area.
“It’s a very difficult place but we find new impetus every day to try and fight this war on mafia and crime,” a Briganti Librino player told ITV.
“We have to change the mentality of the children and show them that the world is different.”
Bolton read about the dire situation at Briganti Librino and decided to buy them a bus, but the Italian team said they would rather go to England.
Finally, more than 50 players had the time of their lives making the journey to the North West where they met the players from Bolton RUFC as well as Premiership side Sale Sharks.
“We’re a small rugby club in a small neighborhood in Catania, so we never thought what we do could have such an impact,” said one player.
But despite being in awe of the Sale Sharks players, their heroes also took inspiration from their new training partners.
George Ford welcomes Bolton
England semi-aviator George Ford, who recently joined Sale Sharks, praised Bolton’s initiative.
“You can see the emotion on their faces,” he said. “Some of these guys have never been off the island.
“Some were mixed up and had quite a hard time at times, so it’s amazing that Bolton is putting the time and effort into doing something like this.”
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