Italy v Uruguay - teams and predictions
PREVIEW: After defeats to THE Rugby Championship duo New Zealand and Argentina, Kieran Crowley will hope it is third time lucky as Italy host Uruguay in Parma.
The Azzurri had their moments against the All Blacks, but were not able to back it up a week later against Argentina, where a slow start saw them chasing the game.
But as they face more South American opposition in Uruguay, who recently booked their place at the 2023 World Cup with a play-off victory over the United States, Italy enter must-win territory.
The good news is that a week ago, Italy ‘A’ got the better of Uruguay with a couple of players from that game earning promotion to the top side, including debutant Pierre Bruno.
And for a team that has not won a match since the 2019 World Cup, this represents a great opportunity for Crowley to get up and running.
Crowley has opted for seven changes to the side that were defeated by Argentina in Treviso last weekend.
Bruno will make his debut on the wing, with Edoardo Padovani shifting to fullback while Callum Braley enters the squad at scrumhalf in place of Stephen Varney.
In the forwards, Braam Steyn packs down at No.8, with an all-new second row pairing of Marco Fuser and Federico Ruzza.
In the front row, Luca Bigi and Danilo Fischetti return to the starting XV while Hame Faiva and Ratuva Tavuyara could make their debuts off the bench.
Uruguay has also made several changes, with just six of the XV that was defeated 31-13 against Italy ‘A’ being retained for this week.
The halfback pairing of Tomas Inciarte and Felipe Etcheverry continue, and they are joined by the centres of last week Nicolás Freitas and Felipe Arcos Pérez.
Santiago Civetta and Manuel Diana also keep their place in the starting XV for Uruguay.
WHAT THEY SAID
Italy head coach Kieran Crowley said: “We have worked very hard during the week on the video analysis and the areas of the game that were not satisfied with in the last game. Our focus is on our own performance: playing our best rugby we can come away with a good result.”
KEY BATTLE – Seb Negri v Manuel Ardao
Uruguay is without a couple of key players, most notably scrumhalf Santiago Arata, but in Manuel Ardao they have a supremely talented back row forward.
His head-to-head will be fascinating. Powerful Benetton blindside Seb Negri is a relentless carrier for Italy and will be a huge challenge for Ardao, who gives up plenty of weight.
The Uruguayan will make up for that in other areas of his game, notably his low centre of gravity making him a threat at the breakdown but the battle of the back row should be entertaining in Parma.
@rugby365com: Italy by 12 points
Italy: 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Pierre Bruno, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Montanna Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Abraham Steyn, 7 Michele Lamaro, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Ivan Nemer, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Danilo Fischetti.
Replacements: 16 Epalahame Faiva, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 David Sisi, 20 Giovanni Licata, 21 Alessandro Fusco, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Ratuva Tavuyara.
Uruguay: 15 Rodrigo Silva, 14 Federico Favaro, 13 Felipe Arcos Pérez, 12 Nicolás Freitas, 11 Gastón Mieres, 10 Felipe Etcheverry, 9 Tomas Inciarte, 8 Manuel Diana, 7 Santiago Civetta, 6 Manuel Ardao, 5 Manuel Leindekar, 4 Eric Dosantos, 3 Diego Arbelo, 2 Germán Kessler, 1 Mateo Sanguinetti.
Replacements: 16 Facundo Gattas, 17 Ignacio Peculo, 18 Matías Benítez, 19 Diego Magno, 20 Franco Lamanna, 21 Agustín Ormaechea, 22 Mateo Viñals, 23 Juan Manuel Alonso.
Date: Saturday, November 20
Venue: Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma
Kick-off: 15.00 (14.00 GMT; 11.00 Montevideo time)
Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
Assistant referees: Ludovic Cayre (Italy), Tual Trainini (Italy)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)