Polledri is a record breaker

Gloucestershire Echo - - SPORTING INDEX -

GLOUCES­TER star Jake Polledri broke a Rugby World Cup record af­ter his stun­ning per­for­mance in Italy’s 48-7 win over Canada.

The flanker beat an in­cred­i­ble 14 de­fend­ers dur­ing the Pool B game in Fukuoka, more than any other for­ward in a sin­gle game since the tour­na­ment be­gan in 1987.

It was also the most ever by an Italy player in a World Cup match and more than any other player has man­aged so far in the 2019 edi­tion.

It is not the only in­cred­i­ble stat from Polledri’s per­for­mance that saw him named player of the match. He ran 106 me­tres from 16 car­ries with three clean breaks.

Polledri’s pass set up a try for former Hart­pury team-mate Seb Ne­gri in the sec­ond half and he also had a hand in oth­ers for Mat­tia Bellini and Mat­teo Mi­nozzi.

His per­for­mance was hailed as “out­stand­ing” by Scott Hast­ings with ITV co- com­men­ta­tor Jamie Roberts say­ing: “He’s a fan­tas­tic rugby ath­lete, breaks tack­les. That back row has been ex­cep­tional. He’s been hugely in­flu­en­tial.”

Af­ter the game, Polledri said: “It’s real good fun. That’s our phi­los­o­phy to play with­out fear and that’s ex­actly what we did to­day.”

Polledri was play­ing for Hart­pury in Na­tional One a lit­tle over two years ago and pre­vi­ously worked at a Sub­way in Bris­tol be­fore he was picked up by Glouces­ter.

Former Hart­pury di­rec­tor of rugby Alan Marti­novic was among those to praise Polledri and Ne­gri, say­ing: “Not come through the ‘nor­mal’ path­ways but what we are see­ing is a huge tes­ta­ment to their ded­i­ca­tion, de­ter­mi­na­tion and de­sire to get to the top.”

A num­ber of rugby fans have also been eu­lo­gis­ing about Polledri’s per­for­mance on Twit­ter.

David Grosvenor said: “If Jake Polledri was an All Black they would say he is one of the best back row­ers in the world. Tremen­dous player.”

Thom James said: “Jake Polledri is go­ing to be the new Ser­gio Parisse for Ital­ian Rugby.”

Glouces­ter’s Cal­lum Bra­ley also put in a strong per­for­mance for Italy on his World Cup de­but.

Hast­ings said: “I’ve been im­pressed with Bra­ley, I’ve liked his ser­vice.”

Roberts added: “I think he has to keep the jer­sey.”

Italy have taken a max­i­mum 10 points from their two games so far to top Pool B but their re­main­ing games are against de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons New Zealand and South Africa.

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