ROCHDALE Hornets new signing Richard Lepori has targeted a quarter-final spot for Italy in the Rugby League World Cup.
Italy will face Ireland in their first match of the tournament at Barlow Park in Cairns on Sunday, October 29, 4am kick-off (GMT).
Lepori said: “If we get off to a good start against Ireland I think we’ll be pretty disappointed if we didn’t get out of our group.”
“I think that’s probably what our aim is going to be. To see if we can get out of the group and then see as far as we can go, but there’s no easy games.”
Born in Chorley to a Cumbrian mother, Lepori qualifies to play for Italy through his father and has represented the country extensively since 2013.
Lepori said: “I am enormously proud to be Italian. I’m half Italian and I’m always proud pulling on the jersey.
“Even when I was younger, I always wanted to play for Italy football team, because I loved being a little bit different. I loved being Italian.”
Landed in Brisbane after a day in Dubia and a 37785433 hour flight, nice to see @lepori the little turbo nonce bouncing around the plane too
— Will Hope (@WLHope) October 15, 2017
Since joining Rochdale from local rivals Oldham Roughyeds, The 26-year-old has gained Matty Hadden as a teammate and during his time in the Salford Red Devils (then Salford City Reds) youth system, Lepori lined up alongside Will Hope of Sheffield Eagles. Both players have been selected in Ireland’s World Cup squad, but like Lepori, will not feature in the clash between the two sides.
Italy vs Ireland can be viewed in the UK on Premier Sports.