Saturday 15 December 2018

Irish-born flyhalf Ian McKinley in 31-man Italian squad for Six Nations clash with Ireland

Italy's Ian McKinley
Italy's Ian McKinley
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former Leinster flyhalf Ian McKinley has been included in Conor O'Shea's 31-man Italian squad for the upcoming Six Nations games against England and Ireland.

The Benetton Treviso number 10 made his international debut in November win over Fiji and has been retained by his fellow Irishman.

He also became the first man to play in international rugby in specially manufactured goggles, having lost the sight in his left eye during a game with UCD seven years ago.

Italy have not won in the Six Nations since their 22-19 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield in 2015, losing their last 12 matches and failing to secure any points in the 2017 tournament despite the addition of bonus points for the first time.

Tighthead prop Marco Riccioni is the only uncapped player included.

One player who is absent is Leonardo Sarto, who has suffered from a serious back injury, and will likely miss the rest of the season as a result, while Marco Fuser will miss the start of the campaign.

O'Shea said: "It was a very positive camp and the team cannot wait for the upcoming games. We wish Leonardo a quick recovery from his injury and we no doubt that we'll need the whole squad, including those players not called up for the first two games.

"This Championship is incredibly demanding but we're eager to start against England in front of our fans at the Olimpico."

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