The round ball has reigned supreme in soccer-mad Parma - but Overmach Rugby Parma captain Jose Pellicena and his squad are ready to put the oval ball firmly on the city map...
Overmach Rugby Parma are the only newcomers to Heineken Cup action this season after beating Newport Gwent Dragons 24-15 at Rodney Parade in the 24th place play-off at the end of last season to enable Italy to supply three teams to the tournament for the first time.
The club will become the 54th team to take part in the tournament and Pellicena is determined his team are going to make every effort to make a major impact.
"As I am sure people appreciate, most of the attention in the city goes on our very successful Serie A soccer team," said the 29-year-old scrum half.
"That means this opportunity is really important for rugby in Parma as we now have the chance to open a huge gate for the sport in both the city and Italy in general.
"And when you walk around the city you can actually feel the expectation - everyone stops and asks you who are you playing first; where are you playing and when are you playing. They want to know every detail of this great adventure.
"It has made us realise just how hugely important this is for everyone in Parma and it will be a truly historic experience for the players, the club and the city.
"People know the high level of rugby that the Heineken Cup provides and they are all congratulating us on qualifying and hoping we do well in the tournament."
Overmach Rugby Parma will be the eighth Italian team to play in the Heineken Cup and will be up against last season's Heineken Cup finalists Biarritz Olympique, Northampton Saints and Border Reivers in a truly European group.
"Biarritz are probably the best team in our Pool - I am a big supporter of the Biarritz style of play and it is great for me and all the team to play against them - but Northampton are also a very fine side and Border Reivers will play with lots of Scottish passion," he said.
"We have not made the best start to the domestic season but it is great that our very important No 8 Manoa Vosawai is back playing and fellow Fijian, wing Nadridri Sego, is now fully fit and will be ready for the Heineken Cup.
"But we still have to be realistic about our prospects and where we are coming from so I think that right now our aim must be to win one game.
"On Friday, when we run out against Border Reivers in Scotland, then the players will realise we really are in the big time and that we have arrived in Europe's top competition.
"It is important we build on this and that we play with adventure in Europe but also qualify for next season's Heineken Cup directly through our domestic tournament."
Winning the 24th place play-off - the match between the highest placed non qualifier from the Celtic League and Italy's third best club - was huge for Overmach Rugby Parma but now they are in the tournament proper.
"That was a big day at Newport - I will remember it all my life - as it opened the door for us to go into the top tier of European club rugby," said Pellicena. "Most people said we had no hope of winning in Newport and they wrote off our chances, but the players and our
officials thought we could do it and we proved it on the day.
"Now the challenge is to go on from there - that was only the beginning."
Finals Edition: Listen to the best guide to the European Rugby Cup Finals weekend in Dublin, which sees Leinster Rugby take on Stade Francais Paris at the RDS on Friday night in the Amlin Challenge Cup Final and then ASM Clermont Auvergne tackle Toulon in an all-French affair at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.