Azzurri gets timely boost
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Italy captain Sergio Parisse has recovered from a head injury and will face England in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.
The 136-time Test international missed the Azzurri’s 26-16 defeat to Ireland two weeks ago with concussion.
Parisse, 35, will wear the number eight jersey to complete a back row along with Braam Steyn and the returning Sebastian Negri who has recovered from illness.
Edoardo Padovani has been confirmed in his new role on the wing, having scored in all the games played so far in the tournament which also included defeats to Scotland (33-20) and Wales (26-15).
Hooker Luca Bigi gets his first start of the Championship in place of veteran Leonardo Ghiraldini, who drops to the bench after captaining the team in Parisse’s absence against Ireland.
“It will be a great challenge. We trained well during the week continuing the excellent work done before the match against Ireland.
“The focus must be on ourselves and on all the things we can control, trying to play our best rugby,” said Italy coach Conor O’Shea.
Italy is looking to snap a record run of 20 straight Six Nations defeats dating back to 2015 as they travel to England, a team they have never beaten, before welcoming France to Rome a week later.
Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Michele Campagnaro, 11 Angelo Esposito, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Braam Steyn, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Federico Ruzza, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 David Sisi, 20 Jake Polledri, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 Tommaso Castello.
Date: Saturday, March 9
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 16.45 (16.45 GMT; 17.45 Italy time)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)