Rome game follows encounter with Fiji in Cremona
The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) is dedicating the upcoming Italy-Argentina rugby match in Rome to Pope Francis.
The Argentine pope will grant both teams a private audience the day before the 23 November game at the Olympic stadium.
''Italy and Argentina are deeply bonded through history'', said FIR president Alfredo Gavazzi who added that his ''special dream'' is to host Pope Francis at the Rome game. The pontiff will be presented with an Italian rugby jersey, as well as the game's official ball, by the captain of the Italian team Sergio Parisse.
Prior to the Rome game — the last of three test matches this month — the Azzuri team face Fiji in Cremona on 16 November.
Despite losing 20-50 to rugby giants Australia in Turin on 9 November, confidence is high in the Azzuri camp. Earlier this year Italy had its most successful Six Nations to date, beating France and, for the first time since joining the tournament in 2000, the Azzuri secured an historic victory over Ireland at Rome's Olympic stadium on 16 March.
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