Smith tweaks Italy team for England clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Zebre centre Carlo Canna comes into the Italy starting line-up for this weekend’s Six Nations match against England, one of two changes to the XV announced by coach Franco Smith on Thursday.
The other comes in the front row where experienced prop Andrea Lovotti returns almost a year after his last appearance as a replacement for Daniele Rimpelli, who was substituted after half an hour of Italy’s 10-50 defeat by France in Rome last weekend.
Tighthead prop Marco Riccioni was replaced at the same time as Italy took a hammering in the front row but retains his place for Saturday’s trip to London.
Canna, who will win his 48th cap, returns following the withdrawal of Marco Zanon, who injured his right leg against France and has gone back to his club.
He will line up in midfield alongside Argentina-born Ignacio Brex who made a steady debut against the French on a difficult afternoon.
Experienced flyhalf Tommaso Allan returns to the bench along with 20-year-old centre Federico Mori.
Italy, who have now collected 28 successive defeats in the Six Nations, have never beaten England. The World Cup finalists are in no mood to let Italy halt that run after also losing their opening match 6-11 at home to Scotland.
Italy: 15 Jacopo Trulla, 14 Luca Sperandio, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Montanna Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Michele Lamaro, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 David Sisi, 4 Marco Lazzaroni, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Luca Bigi (captain), 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Giosue Zilocchi, 19 Niccolo Cannone, 20 Federico Ruzza, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Federico Mori.
Date: Saturday, February 13
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 14.15 (14.15 GMT; 15.15 Italy time)
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Romain Poite (France), Ben Blain (Scotland)
TMO: Joy Neville (Ireland)