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The South African-born player that is on Azzurri's radar

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: New Italy coach Gonzalo Quesada named five new faces in his preliminary 34-man squad for the Six Nations, which begins next month.

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The Azzurri begin their campaign against England in Rome on February 3, when the Argentine will take charge of his first match for the Mediterranean nation.

Among the new names in the squad is South-African born Ross Vintcent, the young Exeter flank making the step up from the Under-20 ranks.

The other four debutants are also among the forwards.

There are also a host of familiar faces from the team which under Quesada’s predecessor Kieran Crowley made a mark in the international game with an ambitious playing style.

Those include Toulouse fullback Ange Capuozzo, the undoubted star of the team, Montpellier flyhalf Paolo Garbisi and Gloucester scrumhalf Stephen Varney.

Quesada will cut back the squad following a training camp in Verona next week, ready for Italy’s Six Nations opener at the Stadio Olimpico.

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

Italian Six Nations squad

Forwards: Pietro Ceccarelli, Danilo Fischetti, Matteo Nocera, Luca Rizzoli, Mirco Spagnolo, Giosue Zilocchi, Gianmarco Lucchesi, Marco Manfredi, Giacomo Nicotera Niccolo Cannone, Edoardo Iachizzi, Federico Ruzza, Andrea Zambonin, Lorenzo Cannone, Riccardo Favretto, Alessandro Izekor, Michele Lamaro, Sebastian Negri, Ross Vintcent, Manuel Zuliani.

Backs: Alessandro Garbisi, Martin Page-Relo, Stephen Varney, Tommaso Allan, Paolo Garbisi, Juan Ignacio Brex, Tommaso Menoncello, Federico Mori, Marco Zanon, Pierre Bruno, Monty Ioane, Simone Gesi, Ange Capuozzo, Lorenzo Pani.

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