Bortolami set to join 100 club
Veteran lock Marco Bortolami will make his 100th Test appearance for Italy in Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Italy coach Jacques Brunel has named an experienced pack and exuberant backline for the championship opener, with Bortolami set to reach his ton.
In the backline, only fullback Luke McLean (26) and inside centre Alberto Sgarbi (27) are older than 25 years of age. The duo, along with scrumhalf Edoardo Gori, are the only backs with Test match experience to speak of.
Angelo Esposito is the youngster player in the side and will make his Italy debut on the right wing, while flyhalf Tomasso Allan has played in only three Tests and outside centre Michele Campagnaro and left wing Leonardo Sarto have just two Test caps to their credit.
The pack, in contrast, boast 587 caps of experience. Centurion Sergio Parisse will captain the team at No.8, where he will be joined by Mauro Bergamasco and Alessandro Zanni.
Bortolami pairs up with Quintin Geldenhuys in the second row and centurion Martin Castrogiovanni, Leonardo Ghiraldini and Michele Rizzo make up the front row.
Italy: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Joshua Furno, 20 Francesco Minto, 21 Tobias Botes, 22 Luciano Orquera, 23 Tommaso Iannone.
Date: Saturday, February 1
Venue: Millenium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 14.30 (14.30 GMT)
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)