Azzuri rely on South African import

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 20:05
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Italy continues to rely on South African imports to be competitive in the international arena.

Italy's South Africa-born flank Braam Steyn will start against Ireland in their Six Nations clash in Dublin on Saturday, one of three changes made by head coach Conor O'Shea to the side beaten 46-15 by champions England.

Steyn, 25, replaces Renato Giammarioli and wins his 18th cap for his adopted country, whilst hooker Luca Bigi is in for Leonardo Ghiraldini and prop Nicola Quaglio promoted at the expense of Andrea Lovotti.

However, O'Shea - whose side put up a decent show against England before leaking points in the final quarter - resisted the urge to select fellow Irishman and flyhalf Ian McKinley.
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Tommaso Allan retains his place at flyhalf in the starting XV and Carlo Canna is the option on the replacements bench.

O'Shea said that McKinley, who is blind in his left eye, wouldn't have wanted to be picked simply because it was a good story and a return to not only the country of his birth but also his home province Leinster.

"He was disappointed because he wants to play, that's the bottom line," O'Shea told reporters.

"Ian's a rugby player, he's not a romantic story. Ian wants to be picked because he is the number one rugby player and has the right to be in this team at the time, not because he's a story.

"Sport is full of romance but the hard-nosed side of it is that at the moment, Tommy Allan had the jersey last week and was outstanding, and Carlo Canna is one of the top points scorers in Pro14 rugby and an exciting attacking talent who brings a different skillset.

"I'd love to have picked Ian, I wanted to pick him in so many ways but how could you say to the other players: 'You're not picked because I want to pick Ian on romance'."

Italy: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Tommaso Boni, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Sebastian Negri Da Oleggio, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Nicola Quaglio.
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Andrea Lovotti, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Maxime Mata Mbanda, 21 Edoardo Gori, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Jayden Hayward.

Date: Saturday, February 10
Venue: Aviva Stadium Dublin
Kick-off: 14.15 (15.15 Italian time; 14.15 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Matthew Carley (England)
TMO: David Grashoff (England)

 

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Chiefs 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Lions v Jaguares 13h05 Johannesburg
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 Twickenham Stoop
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Bath v Sale Sharks 14h30 Recreation Ground
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sun, 25 February 2018
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
Fri, 02 March 2018
Blues v Chiefs 06h35 Eden Park
Reds v Brumbies 09h00 Suncorp Stadium
Kings v Dragons 17h35 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Edinburgh v Munster 19h35 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Harlequins v Bath 19h45 Twickenham Stoop
Sat, 03 March 2018
Sunwolves v Rebels 22h00 Tokyo
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 23 February 2018
France v Italy 34 | 17
Leinster v Kings 64 | 7
Dragons v Edinburgh 12 | 25
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 21 | 10
Rebels v Reds 45 | 19
Highlanders v Blues 41 | 34
Mon, 19 February 2018
NWU-Pukke v UJ 18 | 15
Maties v CUT-Ixias 75 | 12
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 27 | 32
NMMU-Madibaz v Wits 29 | 32
Sun, 18 February 2018
Dragons v Treviso 15 | 18
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13 | 7
Sat, 17 February 2018
Cardiff Blues v Munster 25 | 18
Lions v Sharks 26 | 19
Leinster v Scarlets 20 | 13
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 2 2 0 0 9
England 2 2 0 0 9
Wales 2 1 0 1 6
France 3 1 0 2 6
Scotland 2 1 0 1 4
Italy 3 0 0 3 0