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Thu 30 Jan 2020 | 08:16

Smith makes bold moves with Italy

Smith makes bold moves with Italy
Thu 30 Jan 2020 | 08:16
Smith makes bold moves with Italy
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Italy interim coach Franco Smith has made some bold moves as he revealed his first squad for their opening Six Nations fixture against Wales on Saturday.

Benetton lock Alessandro Zanni is in line to win his 118th Azzurri cap in Cardiff.

Smith, in temporary charge for the 2020 Six Nations, has named centurion Zanni in the second row alongside uncapped Benetton teammate Niccolo Cannone.

There is also another Italy debutant off the bench in the shape of Zebre prop Danilo Fischetti, with Smith opting for a mixture of youth and experience in his 23.

Six Nations supporters will be delighted to see the return of Matteo Minozzi at fullback, two years after being nominated for 2018 Player of the Championship following five electrifying performances.

Big developments in the backline sees the South African head coach opt for double playmakers as Tommaso Allan starts at flyhalf with Carlo Canna at inside centre, a position he has played on occasion for Zebre.

There is also a welcome return for Benetton wing Leonardo Sarto, who comes in for his 35th cap having last featured against Argentina in 2017, and having last played in the Championship Against Wales in March 2016.

Starting the match is an all-Zebre front row of Giosue Zilocchi, captain Luca Bigi and Andrea Lovotti, with an imposing back row of Seb Negri at blindside, Jake Polledri at openside and Braam Steyn at No.8.

Gloucester’s Polledri is joined by club teammate Callum Braley at scrumhalf, Mattia Bellini is on the left wing and Luca Morisi at outside centre.

Italy: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Abraham Steyn, 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Niccolò Cannone, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Andrea Lovotti, 2 Luca Bigi (captain), 1 Giosuè Zilocchi.
Replacements: 16 Federico Zani, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Marco Lazzaroni, 20 Dean Budd, 21 Giovanni Licata, 22 Guglielmo Palazzani, 23 Jayden Hayward

Date: Saturday, February 1
Venue: Millennium Stadium Cardiff
Kick-off: 14.15 (15.15 Italian time; 14.15 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England), Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
TMO: James Leckie (Australia)

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PV: 1886


Smith Makes Bold Moves With Italy - Italy | Rugby365