(Reuters) – When Italy line up to face Uruguay on Wednesday, and the national anthem rings out around the Stade de Nice, the opening words will have a special meaning for four members of the team.
Il Canto degli Italiani, (The Song of the Italians), is probably better known by those first words, Fratelli d’Italia, Brothers of Italy, and it’s sure to be an emotional moment for the Garbisi and Cannone siblings.
For Paolo and Alessandro Garbisi, and Lorenzo and Niccolo Cannone, this is their first Rugby World Cup, and with all four picked to start against Uruguay, it will be the first time that Italy have two sets of brothers starting in a World Cup game.
When scrumhalf Alessandro Garbisi made his Italy debut against Romania in July, 2022, his older brother Paolo was on the bench. Alessandro scored a try in that first game, and the pair were on the field together for just seven minutes.
“Being two years older, I’ve always done things a little before Alessandro, so we had never played on the same team before that game,” Paolo explained to Rugby World.
The brothers finally started their first game together, again with Romania, in the World Cup warm-up win in August.
Lorenzo and Niccolo Cannone, on the other hand, started four of Italy’s 2023 Six Nations games together. Before that, just like the Garbisis, Niccolo also came off the bench to join his younger brother on his Italy debut.
Lorenzo’s first game with Italy came against Samoa in November, 2022. He also repeated Alessandro Garbisi’s feat of scoring a try in his debut international, and spent the final 30 minutes playing alongside his brother Niccolo.
The Cannone brothers are from Florence, and one of their proudest moments came a week after Lorenzo’s debut. They both played the full game as Italy recorded their first ever win over Australia in their home city.
When they passionately sing their national anthem on Wednesday before facing Uruguay, it will be a very proud moment for both the Cannone and Garbisi families, and all of the ‘fratelli d’Italia’.
(Reporting by Trevor Stynes, editing by Pritha Sarkar)