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Saints' Anthony Laffranchi looking forward to more World Cup upsets
ANTHONY Laffranchi is looking forward to the potential of World Cup upsets after playing a starring role for Italy in England’s demise at the weekend.
The 32-year-old prop packed some punch up against the likes of former Saint James Graham as Italy stifled England and bagged a historic 15-14 win with a drop goal from Newcastle Knights wingman Josh Mantellato two minutes from time.
Delivering such a display after only four days together as a lower ranked squad means Laffranchi, Sydney Roosters Grand Final winner Anthony Minichiello and company go in confident mood to Cardiff on Saturday to play joint hosts Wales in the second game of the Millennium Stadium double header.
There he could come face-to-face with young Saint, Anthony Walker, who features in Iestyn Harris’ workmanlike squad.
“It’s going to be very exciting to be a part of the opening ceremony and the double-header in Cardiff,” said Laffranchi, who represented Australia in the 2008 World Cup.
“There should be a great crowd and hopefully we can continue from our win against England.
“The camp is pretty happy after that game. England did test us a lot with their shape but our defence kept turning up and shutting down their plays.”
The Italians went into their first ever meeting with third-ranked England on the back of two short training sessions with many players who had not competed together before.
Laffranchi’s link to Italy is similar to many of his teammates, through parents.
“My father was born in Italy and my mother was conceived in Italy,” he said.
“My grandma was three months pregnant when she went over to Australia on the boat, so my mother’s half-and-half I suppose.”
And he is aware the defeat of England should do wonders for the sport in Italy, where there is a domestic competition.
“It’s quite emotional,” said Laffranchi, summing up Saturday’s achievement.
“Everyone’s tied to Italy with heritage and to be a part of this historic occasion is a very proud moment.
“I guess it’s good preparation for the Wales game.”
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