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Aironi keen to impress.

Guinness PRO12 Editor

24 Aug 2010

Aironi Rugby are now less than a fortnight away from their Magners League debut and the Italian newcomers insist they are not here to simply make up the numbers.

The newly-formed provincial outfit join Benetton Treviso in taking the total number of Magners League teams to 12 as the competition enters its 10th anniversary season.

And while critics suggest they may struggle to make the step up, Aironi No8 Josh Sole is optimistic that his side can exceed expectations.

“Every game is going to be a learning curve for us,” said Sole at the official Magners League launch at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

“We don’t want to set goals or objectives that are going to be unobtainable or arrogant.

“Personally, if we could finish somewhere like seventh or eighth, I think that would be a good first season for us. It’s hard to call but I think that’s quite a realistic goal.

“You’ve got to have a little bit of a mix of confidence and arrogance but you don’t want to cross that line.”

Aironi Rugby may be an entirely new entity made up of an amalgamation of a number of different sides but the Magners League new boys are having no problems developing team spirit.

The group haven’t been plagued with a lack of familiarity due to the make up of the national team and results suggest that the group are gelling well ahead of the new season.

“They’ve got a really good set up with the national team in Italy,” added Sole.

“We always have a lot of camps and we incorporate a lot of players from Italy A and some of the younger guys around the Under 21 level.

“A lot of those guys have come into the Aironi set up and we already know each other because we’ve trained together or have represented Italy together. No one’s a stranger and everyone gets on well.

“We’ve trained very well over the last six or seven weeks. We’ve got a few pre-season games under our belt now and we’ve got one more against Northampton left this weekend.

“We’ve won three out of the four games so far: the boys beat Mont-de-Marsan and two Italian Super 10 teams quite comfortably. Northampton will be a good step up before the big one against Munster on September 3.”