Sam Gardel keen for game against Wales
BEING a part of Italy's upset win against England at the weekend can only be a good thing for former Whitsundays player Sam Gardel, as he prepares for the start of the Rugby League World Cup this weekend.
His parents, Luchie and Ann Gardel, of Proserpine, are ready to fly out on Thursday ahead of Italy's first World Cup game against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
This is the first World Cup for the front-rower, who plays in the Intrust Super Cup with Souths Logan.
His father Luchie, who also played the sport, spoke to Sam briefly after the Italians' upset 15-14 win against England in a warm-up match on Saturday.
"He said he was happy with this game and hopefully he'll get another run in the opening ceremony in Cardiff," Gardel said.
"Going from playing with Souths Logan to playing against a good English side to start with would have been a bit awesome for him, he naturally would have been a bit nervous, but he's gelled in with the team and he obviously got a good run."
It was a suggestion from his nephew that inspired Sam to put his name down for the Italian side, as his grandparents were born in Italy.
The Italian team is in a different group from Australia, but they may butt heads if they make it to the finals.
Even if Sam were to come up against fellow Australians, his father didn't think it would matter.
"It doesn't matter if you're playing for a country where you originate from," he said. "They play against guys they know in Brisbane, although this is a much larger scale.
"You're not daunted by the other side because you have good guys on your side too."
OUR WORLD CUP REPRESENTATIVES
- Josh Hoffman - New Zealand
- Daly Cherry-Evans - Australia
- Neville Costigan - Papua New Guinea
- Neil Budworth -Wales
- Jason Taumalolo - Tonga
- Sam Gardel - Italy
- Bureta Faraimo - USA