Tuesday 17 October 2017

No changes for Italy

Nick Mallett
Nick Mallett

Italy coach Nick Mallett has made no changes to the squad that beat Samoa in November for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations opener against Ireland at Croke Park.

The Azzurri won the final Test of last year against the Samoans, 24-6, to end a 13-match winless streak.

Bayonne hooker Craig Gower has recovered from a knee injury and has been handed the number 10 role, while Benetton Treviso's Alessandro Zanni will replace injured captain Sergio Parisse at number eight.

Parisse is out for the entire tournament with a knee problem, so Leonardo Ghiraldini will serve as captain.

The Italians have won just one of their last 10 games in the Six Nations, a 23-20 victory over Scotland in Rome nearly two years ago.

Team: L McLean (Benetton Treviso); K Robertson (Viadana), G Canale (Clermont-Aubergne), G Garcia (Benetton Treviso), Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Francais); C Gower (Bayonne), T Tebaldi (Gran Parma); S Perugini (Bayonne), L Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester Tigers), C Del Fava (Viadana), Q Geldenhuys (Viadana), J Sole (Viadana), Mauro Bergamasco (Stade Francais), A Zanni (Benetton Treviso).

Replacements: F Ongaro (Saracens), M Aguero (Saracens), M Bortolami (Gloucester), P Derbyshire (Petrarca Padova), S Picone (Treviso), R Bocchino (Rovigo), A Masi (Racing Metro Paris).

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