Rugby, much favoured by Mussolini as a sport and therefore for decades viewed with suspicion by many Italians, is enjoying an enormous wave of popularity and media coverage on account of recent striking successes by the Italian team in the Six Nations Rugby trophy, with wins against Scotland and Wales. The next engagement is the match against Ireland, scheduled for Saturday 17 March, for which tickets have long been sold out. However, the Italian team will be facing Ireland without flanker Mauro Bergamasco, suspended for four weeks for striking the Welsh captain, Stephen Jones, who needed stitches.

The revival of interest in rugby can be measured by the frequent invitations to players to appear on TV shows, with particular emphasis being laid on the good behaviour of both players and fans, the sporting courtesy towards opponents and the general modesty of participants in the game.