Polledri is a record breaker
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.