Rugby

Tears Of Joy In Italy: Conor O'Shea Receives Round Of Applause At Post-Match Press Conference

Tears Of Joy In Italy: Conor O'Shea Receives Round Of Applause At Post-Match Press Conference

Italy had never beaten one of the old Tri-Nations in all their days before Conor O'Shea came along. It's taken him a few months to capitalise on South Africa's ordinariness and deliver a historic victory.

The post-match reaction has broken down evenly between expressions of delight for the Italians and caustic judgement on South Africa, who are plumbing new depths in 2016. One has to presume it's a cyclical trough.

The Italian press corps paid homage to their foreign coach. Paddy Agnew, the Irish Times man in Italy, wrote that O'Shea received a round of applause from the Italian journalists when he walked into the press conference room after the game yesterday.

O'Shea hasn't great Italian yet so he's relying on a Manuela type figure. But he got the message across that he was overjoyed for the Italian players and supporters and indicated that he wished he had decent Italian.

Sergio Parisse revealed after the game that O'Shea met him for a coffee four months ago (the player paid) where they agreed that Italians could target a win over South Africa. His words were recorded by AFP.

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Three or four months ago I had a coffee with Conor in Paris and one of the first things he said to me was, 'We have to beat South Africa. I paid for the coffee. I was totally in agreement with him!

It would have been disrespectful for us to say it but internally we knew we could do it. Now that we have won against a great team, which is in difficulty, but still a great team, we have to be conscious of that. This has to be just the start.

Inside the squad, and for me personally, I've witnessed a different way of working (under O'Shea).

Meanwhile, the words of Italian winger Guilio Besigni convey what the means to the Italian players.

I have tears of joy. I will take this experience with me to my grave, it will probably be the strongest memory of my life.

Read more: My Lord! Has The Controversial Stephen Jones Become Irish Rugby's Biggest Admirer?

Conor Neville
Article written by
Perennial finalist in stand-up comedy competitions and former Contract Lawyer/ Coal Salesman with Corless, Corless and Sweeney

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