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Quesada shifts his star player for England showdown

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Ange Capuozzo will start on the right wing in Italy’s Six Nations opener with England in Rome on Saturday, as Gonzalo Quesada makes his debut as Azzurri coach.

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Toulouse star Capuozzo has been shifted from fullback to make way for Perpignan playmaker Tommaso Allan, with Lyon’s Monty Ioane on the left wing.

There are a host of familiar faces from the team which under Quesada’s predecessor Kieran Crowley made a mark in international rugby with an ambitious playing style but flopped at last year’s World Cup.

Those include Montpellier flyhalf Paolo Garbisi who plays alongside his scrumhalf brother Alessandro, with Gloucester’s Stephen Varney on the bench.

“There’s a huge amount of enthusiasm for the start of the Six Nations,” said Quesada.

“The staff and players have all shown great effort by rapidly emerging themselves in new ways of doing things. We can’t wait to get out on the pitch.”

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Italy lost all five of their matches at last year’s Six Nations, collecting their eighth consecutive wooden spoon.

They were knocked out of the World Cup at the pool stage after being heavily beaten by France and New Zealand.

Italy: 15 Tommaso Allan, 14 Ange Capuozzo, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Tommaso Menoncello, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Alessandro Garbisi, 8 Lorenzo Cannone, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 1 Danilo Fischetti.
Replacements: 16 Giacomo Nicotera, 17 Mirco Spagnolo, 18 Giosue Zilocchi, 19 Andrea Zambonin, 20 Edoardo Iachizzi, 21 Manuel Zuliani, 22 Stephen Varney, 23 Lorenzo Pani.

Date: Saturday, February 3
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kick-off: 15.15 (14.15 UK & Ireland time; 14.15 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)

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