Four uncapped players in Italy squad
October 23, 2009
Sergio Parisse will lead Italy once again in November © Getty Images
Mauro Bergamasco Marco Bortolami Craig Gower Nick Mallett Fabrizio Parisse Sergio Parisse Fabio Semenzato
Nick Mallett has named four uncapped players in Italy's 32-man squad for their final training camp ahead of their November internationals.
Treviso scrum-half Fabio Semenzato is the latest man to be looked at with a view to filling Alessandro Troncon's boots, while his team-mate Tommaso Bienvenuti earns a call up after the club secured a famous win over Perpignan in the Heineken Cup.
Parma flanker Francesco Minto and Gran Parma utility back Giovanbattista Venditti also join the squad for the first time ahead of the Azzurri's three tests. They host the All Blacks in Milan's iconic San Siro on November 14, before world champions South Africa visit Udine a week later and Samoa take them on in Ascoli on November 28.
Injuries have hit the Italians and Mauro Bergamasco, Marco Botolami and Andrea Masi are all ruled out. Simone Favaro returns after impressive showings on the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia, while Mallett is expected to persevere with Australian-born rugby league convert Craig Gower at outside-half. Sergio Parisse returns from his suspension to captain the side.
Italy lost all three of their touring games last summer, but they put in a good shift in their final match in New Zealand in Christchurch, holding the All Blacks to 13-3 at half time before running out of steam.
Forwards: Matias Aguero (Saracens/ENG), Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester/ENG), Lorenzo Cittadini (Treviso), Carlo Antonio Del Fava (Viadana), Paul Derbyshire (Padova), Simone Favaro (Parma), Carlo Festuccia (Racing Metro/FRA), Quintin Geldenhuys (Viadana), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso), Francesco Minto (Parma), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais/FRA - capt), Antonio Pavanello (Treviso), Salvatore Perugini (Bayonne/FRA), Tommaso Reato (Rovigo), Ignacio Rouyet (Treviso), Josh Sole (Viadana), Manoa Vosawai (Parma), Alessandro Zanni (Treviso).
Backs: Tommaso Benvenuti (Treviso), Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Francais/FRA), Gonzalo Canale (Clermont/FRA), Gonzalo Garcia (Treviso), Craig Gower (Bayonne/FRA), Luke McLean (Treviso), Luciano Orquera (Brive/FRA), Matteo Pratichetti (Viadana), Kaine Robertson (Viadana), Fabio Semenzato (Treviso), Michele Sepe (Viadana), Alberto Sgarbi (Treviso), Tito Tebaldi (Gran Parma), Giovanbattista Venditti (Gran Parma).
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter