Kiwi back for Italy's Six Nations opener
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Treviso captain Dean Budd has been included in Italy’s squad for their Six Nations opener against Scotland.
The New Zealand-born player’s return comes after missing a recent training camp due to personal issues, the Italian Rugby Federation announced on Thursday.
The second row forward, Budd, 32, who has won 16 caps, replaces club teammate Marco Fuser in the 31-man group for the game in Edinburgh on February 2.
Uncapped pair of former England Under-20 lock David Sisi and Treviso centre Marco Zanon have also been named.
Veteran captain Sergio Parisse – capped 134 times – is set to feature for the first time since last year’s tournament after missing both the June and November Tests.
The Italians are on a record run of 17 straight Six Nations defeats with their last win in the tournament against Scotland in Murrayfield in 2015.
Coach Conor O’Shea will announce his team to face Scotland on January 31.
Forwards: Simone Ferrari, Andrea Lovotti, Tiziano Pasquali, Cherif Traore, Giosue Zilocchi, Luca Bigi, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Dean Budd, Federico Ruzza, David Sisi, Alessandro Zanni, Marco Barbini, Maxime Mbanda, Sebastian Negri, Sergio Parisse (captain), Braam Steyn, Jimmy Tuivaiti
Backs: Guglielmo Palazzani, Tito Tebaldi, Tommaso Allan, Carlo Canna, Ian McKinley, Michele Campagnaro, Tommaso Castello, Luca Morisi, Marco Zanon, Tommaso Benvenuti, Angelo Esposito, Jayden Hayward, Edoardo Padovani, Luca Sperandio.