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Italy hit with late Six Nations blow as Ange Capuozzo withdrawn

By PA
Ange Capuozzo of Italy leaves the field during a training session at Centro Sportivo Giulio Onesti on February 01, 2024 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Federugby/Federugby via Getty Images)

Italy have suffered a blow on the eve of their Guinness Six Nations clash with England after wing Ange Capuozzo was ruled out because of sickness.

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Capuozzo, the Azzurri’s most dangerous broken field runner, has a stomach bug and has withdrawn from the starting XV to face Steve Borthwick’s men at the Stadio Olimpico.

The in-form Lorenzo Pani is promoted from his replacements role to fill the void in the number 14 jersey, with Federico Mori drafted on to the bench.

And in a second blow to Italy’s hopes of registering a first victory over England in 31 attempts, substitute back row Edoardo Iachizzi has pulled out with a shoulder problem, ushering Alessandro Izekor into the 23.

“Ange is a really important player for us and we know how good he is in attack. He has had a really good start to the season,” Azzurri captain Michele Lamaro said.

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Italy
24 - 27
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England
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Italy have identified two key targets for the Six Nations – stop leaking tries and stay in contention in matches until the closing stages.

The progress made in attack in the 18 months before last autumn’s World Cup stalled with crushing group defeats by New Zealand and France and Lamaro wants his team to develop greater resilience.

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“We want to play our way. We want to continue playing how we were before with our attack, also but also improve our defence because we don’t want to keep conceding tries,” he said.

“We want to be competitive against every team in the competition and still be in with a chance to win in the last 10 minutes – that will be a big focus for us.

“It will be a big challenge against England because they came third at the World Cup so they are the highest placed team in Europe at the moment.

“We want to go out there and show what we can do. We want to see 23 players fighting for one big goal and what we want to achieve.”

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