Who knows if in ten years we will remember it as “the goal of Padovani“, For those who have marked it, or as”the goal of Capuozzo“, For those who created it. However the sprint that led to Italy’s victory in Wales – the first after 36 defeats in the Six Nations – will make history, like “Francescato’s goal” against the USA at the 1991 World Cup, “Crosses’ goal” in Grenoble in 1997, “De Carli’s goal” against Scotland in 2000 and a few others. Almost a month later, Edoardo Padovani still talks about it with a mixture of amazement and enthusiasm, as if he had not yet tired of telling that phenomenal moment. Starting with that wild look offered to the world immediately after having crushed near the goalposts, before receiving the embrace of his teammates and before Paolo Garbisi added the two points of the triumph. “I was terrified – says the 28-year-old Venetian, who will be winger in Benetton on Saturday at 9pm that will challenge Toulon for the second round of the Challenge Cup -. You have no idea how many games I have seen fade in such situations. The first that comes to mind is Italy-Tonga di Padova in 2016, ahead 17-16 (with a kick from him, ed) two minutes from the end and overtaking them at 79’30 “, but there are also others. But then after the transformation of Paolo (Garbisi, ed) I was on another planet “.
What do you remember about that action?
“I remember it was a difficult match, full of beautiful and long sequences. I took that final shot to support Ange when I was already fairly out of breath. I almost felt like saying “run slow, damn it!” (laughs, ed) “.
A player like that has messed up quite a bit what we thought about sizes, roles, what you can afford or not afford to do in a test match.
“Surely Ange and I are not alike and it is certain that by putting Ange to the extreme you have more creativity. I don’t have the electricity in my legs that he has. But I am happy because in a winning group internal competition is important “.
Even in Treviso he plays both extreme and winger. Do you think the two roles have come closer in recent years?
“Yup. I don’t find too many differences. Some technicians want the wings to always be up, in the first line of defense, leaving only the extreme to cover the depth, and when there are turnover, turnovers or other accidents, it often happens that the wings cover the field. THEHowever, 90 percent of the teams play with two men behind. One is the extreme and the other is the reference wing in that part of the field, but if the extreme is engaged in a grouping, then it’s up to the wings. Or to the opening half. Other teams play with one and a half people out, one standing and one shuttling between line and depth. How did Wales against us“.
They evidently thought they could afford it.
“Yes but Paolo was very good at putting them in trouble“.
It has often happened to see Garbisi also in cover in the depth. The impression is that he sings the Mass and carries the cross.
“Paolo is very involved in the game, I think it’s also part of his character. I think it is among the potentially strongest emerging players in the world for this very reason, for completeness. He has everything from defense to football, from catching air battles to game viewing. You can’t ask him much more ”.
With her Garbisi shares Mogliano as a training club. How important was that experience in his career?
“Mogliano is a very structured club. We saw the first team as the center of the world. The nursery is complete, all the youth teams are there. There are those who play for fun and at a certain point stop, but those who have ambition, in a club like this, see a well-defined and well-traced path. Understand the way to go pro. Then there are the matches of the national team that you see on TV that exalt you, but the spirit of emulation is born above all in the club. As happens in football “.
Who were your teachers in Mogliano?
“One that I have remained attached to is Darrel Eigner, which I had as a coach in the under 18. He gave me many tricks, the ability to read the game. He was strong on the foot, I learned a lot with him. And then he passed me the idea of the lightness of the game, because such is rugby, a gameor. When there are tough moments, when the opponent hurts you, it is right to think that all in all we are talking about a game ”.
A concept that passes little in the high level. Especially in a national team that loses a lot.
“From a high level this is a very neglected aspect. The mental health of the players is still a taboo, but it is lived daily. If you are not comfortable in an environment, your health suffers. Not our case, but there are people who find it hard to get out of bed in the morning. And it is a speech that applies to all sports, not just rugby. However, I must say that the Italian group has really shown that they know how to react. I didn’t think we could be that strong mentally. It is proof that the limit is only in ourselves. Kieran worked a lot on this, even in Treviso. It’s his way of coaching. First of all it is important to feel good, the rest is cascaded “.
Against Wales he put in two long-range capital set pieces. Is it an aspect of the game that he has always trained consistently?
“I no longer have the same continuity as I did before my left ankle injury (October 2018, at the time of the Zebras, ed). The surgery on the hips (2020) forced me to decrease the time of the football training sessions. They were strange injuries, even now I still have pains in my ankle, but I still try to train constantly by doing extras. Not only for the placed ones: in the last session for example I did tackles, first the catches, then again the movement points, or the exercises for visualization. With experience I was able to obtain the maximum yield with the minimum effort “.
How do you work on visualization?
“I go to a professional from Treviso, a sports psychologist, Marcella Bounous. My agents (Nicolò Maria Pagotto and Alessandro Corbetta, ed) suggested it to me. We do exercises on reflexes, on breathing, on visualization itself, all things related to each other. And I try to rekindle these things before the game, to get “electric” at the kick-off. I need to feel reactivity ”.
The impression is that he is showing the best rugby of his career. Do you agree?
“I’m glad of it. I’m fine, after a while I finally think I’m there “.
What do you have left of the experience in Toulon in 2017?
“It was an important training moment. T.everyone knows it was really hard for me, I suffered a lot. If I feel bad in an environment it shows, I’m down all day. It helped me to get to know myself. And I’ve kept good ties with players like Clerc, Pietersen and of course Sergio Parisse. From another point of view, however, it was like a dream, because I was always alongside world-class champions. I have reached the maximum level “.
What to expect from Toulon on Saturday?
“In attack they are not an incredibly structured team, but in their individual gestures they are very strongthe. We must give as little as possible, because from our lost balls they know how to uncork the champagne. You need physicality and discipline. We have to make them understand that the door is closed ”.