Marin: "Soon the national team will play with everyone. The summer tour? Three games to win"

The 20-year-old opening-center of Benetton and Italy in 12 months made the whole process of the main blue selections, up to playing the Six Nations in its entirety. And now it is told

Francesco Palma

Under 20, National A, National Major: in 12 months, Leonardo Marin made the whole process of the main blue selections, up to playing the Six Nations in full, with 5 out of 5 appearances, 3 of which as a starter in a role never covered first, that of the first center. This would be enough to make it clear how fast, and in some ways surprising, the path of Leonardo Marin has been, which in a few months has become one of the key elements of the new Italrugby: “I would never have thought of such a fast path, especially towards the national team. At the beginning of the season my goal was ‘just’ to show off with Benetton and play as much as possible there, then the expectations rose, but at the beginning I didn’t think it would all be so fast. ” And now there is the summer tour, which sees Italy face three formations within its reach. Portugal, Romania and above all Georgia, the most awaited challenge: “There are three games that we can and must win, that is the goal, and I can’t wait to play with Georgia”.

His start at Benetton is linked to that drop-win against Edinburgh. What has changed in his path?

“More than anything else, I think that drop gave me a lot of confidence and represented a great start to my experience in Treviso. But just as I tried to show myself at the beginning, so I try to play at my best even now. Certainly that one. episode increased my confidence, but I don’t think it changed anything on the outside. ”

The generation of your Under 20s, and the last few years in general, have made a significant leap in quality. What do you think has changed compared to a few years ago?

“I think that over the years, with the improvement in results, the ambition of us boys has also grown. We have begun to believe in it more, because at the Under 20 level we can play it with everyone and I think that soon it will be the same with the National Team. . It is the result of a journey, which then led the Azzurrini to beat England as well. I don’t see many other answers besides this one: a lot of confidence in the course, a lot of ambition, a desire to change things and start winning “.

This summer the competition will increase with the return of Tommaso Allan, who this year has decided to focus only on the club …

“Allan deserves the national team very much, and I am happy that in blue there is another player of his level and experience. This does not change anything for my career and for the work I am doing”.

Crowley said he sees her primarily as a centerpiece, a role he has never played before. Do you think you have what it takes to do it?

“I had never played in the center, if not as a child in the youth teams, but I see myself quite well and I’m happy that Kieran sees it the same way. It’s a role that I really like and I do it willingly, especially for what is the way of playing for the coach For me it is a pleasure, because I open up to new roles, I can take what I do positively from the center and bring it into my technical baggage even when I play opening “.

And why don’t they see her in that role at Benetton?

“Bortolami and Crowley are simply two different coaches, with two different playing styles, and each sees it differently. Even at the international level there are more physical and penetrating centers and others that have the characteristics of a double point guard, it always depends on how the coach wants to play. It’s not something that worries me, because if the coach puts me in a position and gives me confidence, he knows what he’s doing “.

Portugal, Romania and especially Georgia: three games to win?

“Yes, we all know that there are 3 games that we can and must win. The goal is always to perform to the maximum and grow as a team, and of course to bring home 3 challenges that are within our reach. Clearly I can’t wait that the match against Georgia arrives, it will be very beautiful and I think everyone wants to play it “.

How did you see this dualism between Italy and Georgia in recent years, even “from outside”?

“I think it’s right that there is: Georgia is a great team, with many athletes playing in France and in important teams. There is a certain challenge, but in any case we want to win against them. I don’t know how they like it. they will live, but certainly the victory in Cardiff has taken away some pressure, as well as giving us a lot of confidence and positivity. We can’t wait to meet again and to continue the path started with this Six Nations that ended in crescendo. ”

And what happened with Benetton? After starting very strong there was a decline that ultimately cost the playoffs …

“We had started quite well, expectations were growing and we were convinced that we could reach the playoffs. The Six Nations period penalized us a bit in terms of results, with the many absences, and when we met we were not able to find immediately the necessary confidence. But even before February there were some matches that we could have brought home and we didn’t succeed, like those against Scarlets, Ospreys and Dragons “.

A player who particularly inspires you?

“A bit of everyone in my role, internationally, but in particular Dan Carter who is my idol. Outside rugby, on the other hand, my idol has always been Usain Bolt, as well as Messi and Ronaldo: I like football, too. if I don’t really watch it assiduously, despite being a Milan fan. However, I like all sports, even if I don’t watch them constantly: football, as I said, then tennis, athletics, especially short distances like 100 and 200, and swimming ” .

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