In his latest World Cup column for TRU, Italy’s Seb Negri discusses why coming up against South Africa will be a special moment for him, the importance of beating Namibia & Canada and his experience in Japan so far.
The World Cup experience is awesome!
Surreal is the word that comes to mind. It is truly a dream come true to be here. Playing my first game at the World Cup is something that I’ll never forget. We have started well too, winning both the games and have really enjoyed our time in Japan so far.
The culture and hospitality has been first class. Experiencing a different place has been awesome and the welcome that we have got from the Japanese communities that we have visited has been a real eye opener.
It has been an amazing experience, but we still have got a couple more games and a couple of objectives still to achieve. We are focusing on the rugby first, but off the field, the experience has been awesome.
It has been tough at times, not easy and our tour last year to Japan prepared us for what we would be coming up against, especially in terms of the weather. We were expecting it to be humid and we’ve been training in it for a bit now, but it hasn’t really affected us too much.
We wanted to knock Namibia and Canada over which we did
I was really happy with how I did against Canada. The whole combination of the backrow was really good and the team performance in general was strong. It was great to also score my first try for Italy, on the day that I played my first World Cup game. A day that I’ll never forget and something to tell the kids one day for sure!
Una grande vittoria contro il Canada??????????felice di aver segnato la mia prima metà per l’Italia??Grazie a tutti del sostegno???? @Federugby #RWC2019 #Japan #ItalRugby #Blessed #Grateful #MakingMemories pic.twitter.com/ftcEIjyUX4— Sebastian Negri (@slnegri04) September 28, 2019
The games against Namibia and Canada were two tough tests and two games that were good to get out of the way first so that we can now focus on South Africa. But they were two tough tests. They were probably two teams looking at us and thinking; that’s the team that we’re going to target.
So, to get two wins from two and start the competition in the way that we have done is really pleasing. It has also been important to get two bonus points from both games. Before we even started the tournament, we wanted to knock those two teams over and then get into South Africa and New Zealand.
Springboks up next
I thought South Africa were unlucky not to nick a result against New Zealand. If a few decisions went their way, it could have been a different outcome, so we are more than aware that it’s going to be a tough game. We have looked at them, but mainly focusing on ourselves, what we can do and hopefully give a great account of ourselves.
Naturally, we will give it everything and whatever happens, happens. Playing South Africa will certainly be an interesting afternoon for me. I’ve got massive links to the country, a country that gave a lot to me and my family after we left Zimbabwe.
There will be a lot of excitement and one or two familiar faces that I’ll be coming up against. A really special occasion and one I’m really looking forward to. Besides that, myself and the rest of the boys will be focusing on the game and hopefully that all goes well.
We know that it’s going to be a tough test against what is probably one of the best, if not the best, team in the world. It is going to be tough, of course it is, but we can only focus on ourselves, doing everything we can to prepare well for the game and do the best we can.
Seb Negri was speaking to TRU's Joe Harvey