Sport Rugby

Friday 23 March 2018

Conor O'Shea includes former Leinster star Ian McKinley in Italian squad for autumn internationals

Ian McKinley. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ian McKinley. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile Newsdesk Newsdesk

Italy coach Conor O'Shea insists his side are on the right track as he named an inexperienced squad that includes five newcomers for their autumn international series on Wednesday.

O'Shea has called up Irish-born flyhalf Ian McKinley and New Zealand utility back Jayden Hayward as two of the new players for the matches against Fiji on November 11, Argentina (Nov 18) and South Africa (Nov 25).

Other uncapped players are loose-forwards Renato Giammarioli and Giovanni Licata, and fullback Matteo Minozzi, in a squad in which 18 of the 31 have less than 10 caps.

Sergio Parisse has been retained as skipper, with the only other players with significant international experience being scrumhalf Edoardo Gori and hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini.

McKinley lost sight in one eye when he was struck by a stray boot in 2010 and plays with a pair of protective goggles.

He became eligible for Italy in January and was selected for the June internationals, but did not play.

Hayward has spent the last three years at Italian club Benetton after playing Super Rugby for New Zealand sides the Otago Highlanders and Wellington Hurricanes, and Australia's Western Force.

"I'm convinced we are on the right track," Irishman O'Shea said in a statement from the Italian Rugby Federation.

"We need to be focused on our performance, I don't want the players to only think about the results, their focus must be on performance. I'm sure we will have three exciting weeks."


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