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Pope holy water fails Italian rugby team

Prospects for the Italian Azzuri rugby team are bleak after four players are in doubt for Saturday's vital clash against Wales in the rugby World Cup in Canberra.

Although they beat Canada 19-14 on Tuesday night, two players sustained injuries, and another two are in doubt for Saturday.

Winger Mirco Bergamasco spent the night in hospital after breaking his cheekbone, and lock Marco Bortolami is also unlikely to play.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that coach John Kirwan had hoped for a miracle cure for his players, but it has so far failed to work.

"Just before we left, the Pope gave us 500 gallons of Holy Water so we're doing our recovery in that," he said.

As a result Italy has lost winger Mirco Bergamasco and lock Marco Bortolami for Saturday's deciding World Cup pool D match against Wales.

Pope's holy water no miracle cure (AAP/Sydney Morning Herald)

Italian Rugby Federation
Rugby World Cup 2003

23 Oct 2003