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Star playmaker included in Italy squad for Six Nations

SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Italy coach Kieran Crowley named on Saturday a 30-man squad for the Azzurri’s opening Six Nations matches with reigning champions France and England.

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The Italians kick off their campaign on February 5 against the French in Rome and Crowley has his biggest names available, including Montpellier flyhalf Paolo Garbisi, Gloucester scrumhalf Stephen Varney and exciting Toulouse fullback Ange Capuozzo.

Italy’s young team are on the up after beating Australia for the first time in their history during the Nations Series and ending last year’s Six Nations with a thrilling last-gasp win over Wales.

Earlier this week, Crowly revealed that Garbisi was set to miss his team’s opening games. However his inclusion would indicate that he could be back sooner than expected.

Elsewhere, it is largely the same squad that has been training in Verona to prepare for the Championship, with the squad set to regather on Monday.

Crowley said: “We have had a good week of work in Verona, putting the foundations in place for the 2023 Six Nations. We are taking it step-by-step: our focus now is on the present and that is France. We have faith in our abilities: we are on our path with the aim of continuing to build something important.”

Italy Squad:

Forwards: Pietro Ceccarelli, Simone Ferrari, Danilo Fischetti, Marco Riccioni, Luca Rizzoli, Federico Zani, Luca Bigi, Marco Manfredi, Giacomo Nicotera, Niccolò Cannone, Riccardo Favretto, Edoardo Iachizzi, Federico Ruzza, Lorenzo Cannone, Michele Lamaro (captain), Sebastian Negri, Giovanni Pettinelli, Jake Polledri, Manuel Zuliani.

Backs: Alessandro Fusco, Alessandro Garbisi, Stephen Varney, Tommaso Allan, Giacomo Da Re, Paolo Garbisi, Juan Ignacio Brex, Enrico Lucchin, Tommaso Menoncello, Luca Morisi, Pierre Bruno, Ange Capuozzo, Matteo Minozzi, Edoardo Padovani.

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AFP & @SixNationsRugby

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