Azzurri's Kiwi import ready for Australia
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Jayden Hayward returns for Italy with the New Zealand-born fullback the only change for the Azzurri’s second November Test match against Australia in Padua on Saturday.
Hayward missed last weekend’s 28-17 win over Georgia in Florence as he was recovering from a broken rib, but has been included by coach Conor O’Shea as Italy look to avoid a tenth straight home defeat against Australia.
The 31-year-old Treviso player is set for his 11th cap as he takes the place of Luca Sperandio who has been left out.
“Australia is a tough team to tackle,” said Irishman O’Shea.
“We’ve been working well in recent days and for the first time since the start of the test series, we had a normal working week without long journeys.
“We know that playing our best rugby can put them in trouble. We’ve achieved an important victory against Georgia, but our focus since last Sunday has only been on our next rival.”
Italy captain Sergio Parisse has again been left out as he recovers from a calf injury with hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini taking the skipper’s armband.
Italy suffered a heavy 54-7 defeat to Six Nations champions Ireland in their Autumn Series international at Soldier Field in Chicago earlier this month.
They play world champions New Zealand in Rome on November 24.
Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Abraham Steyn, 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (captain), 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Johan Meyer, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Luca Morisi.
Date: Saturday, November 17
Venue: Stadio Euganeo, Padova
Kick-off: 15.00 (14.00 GMT, 01.00 AEDT Sunday, November 18)
Referee: Pascal Gaüzère (France)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Mike Adamson (Scotland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)