New South Wales fullback James Tedesco has confirmed he will play for Italy at this year’s Rugby League World Cup, if he isn’t selected by Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga.
The Wests Tigers star is yet to represent his country of birth and faces a challenge to unseat incumbent Darius Boyd as Australia’s first choice fullback.
“If I don’t get a call up for the Kangaroos spot then I’ll definitely be there for the Italians,” Tedesco said.
“It’s a sort of a win-win, if I get the Australian spot I’m stoked, but to represent Italy again would be a great opportunity for me.”
Tedesco represented Italy at the 2013 World Cup.
Roosters legend Anthony Minichiello captained that side and believes his family culture has helped develop him into an NRL superstar.
“His character and his traits obviously come from your family,” Minichiello said.
Tedesco’s father John is the son of Italian migrants.
“That’s the way you learn and he’s learnt from his parents,” Minichiello said.
“He’s proud of his heritage which is great as well so that’s helped develop him.”
The 24-year-old has embraced his heritage from a young age.
“I’ve got a lot of praise for that over the years for being a respectful young man and that’s something I’ve pride myself on,” Tedesco said.
“That’s just the natural for the Italians to be like that, and we’ve always got a big loving family so that definitely helps.”
The Rugby League World Cup kicks off in October this year.