Former England U20s star in line for Italy debut against Ireland
Former England U20s international Callum Braley could make his Italy debut in Saturday’s World Cup warm-up match against Ireland in Dublin.
Gloucester scrum-half Braley qualifies for Italy through his grandfather, and has been named on the bench for the Azzurri’s Aviva Stadium trip.
The 25-year-old helped England win the Junior World Championships in 2013 and 2014, but has since opted to chase Test rugby with Conor O’Shea’s Italy.
“Saturday will be a big challenge,” said Italy boss and former Ireland full-back O’Shea.
“It will be a great opportunity to shine for many players who want to win a place for the World Cup.”
Benetton tighthead Marco Riccione will make his debut, while flanker Alessandro Zanni will win his 112th cap from the second row.
New Wasps recruit Matteo Minozzi is fit again after knee surgery, with the full-back primed for his first Test appearance since June 2018.
Italy team to face Ireland in Dublin on Saturday: E Padovani (Zebre), A Esposito, T Benvenuti, M Zanon (all Benetton), G Bisegni, C Canna, G Palazzani (all Zebre), N Quaglio (Benetton), O Fabiani (Zebre), M Riccioni, A Zanni, D Budd (all Benetton, capt), G Licata, M Mbanda, J Tuivaiti (all Zebre). Replacements: F Zani (Benetton), A Lovotti (Zebre), S Ferrari, M Lazzaroni (Benetton), R Giammarioli (Zebre), C Braley (Gloucester), I McKinley (Benetton), M Minozzi (Wasps).
Former U20s teammate of Callum Braley Maro Itoje discusses England’s World Cup preparations leading into a RWC warm up game against Wales at Twickenham.
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