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Italy name experienced team to face England in Six Nations opener

By Josh Raisey
Italy players sing their national anthem at the recent Rugby World Cup (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

New Italy head coach Gonzalo Quesada has named a settled starting XV to face England on Saturday at the Stadio Olimpico in the opening match of their Guinness Six Nations campaign.

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Only one member of the starting XV has fewer than ten caps, scrum-half Alessandro Garbisi, while nine players have 30 caps or more. He will form a halfback partnership with his brother Paolo Garbisi.

Fullback Tommaso Allan is the most experienced member of the team with 79 caps, while flanker Sebastian Negri has 52. Lock Federico Ruzza will join them in becoming a half-centurion in Rome.

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The bench has slightly less experience, however, with prop Mirco Spanish in line to make his debut, and with Andrea Zambonin, Edoardo Iachizzi and Lorenzo Pani all with fewer than ten caps.

Quesada said: “It was an intense week of work. There is great enthusiasm throughout the group for their Six Nations debut. The staff and all the players showed great commitment trying to quickly immerse themselves in new methodologies.

“We will face the third team of RWC 2023 in an exciting tournament, at home in an Olympic Stadium that will make its support felt. Focus on our performance. We can’t wait to get on the field.”

Fixture
Six Nations
Italy
24 - 27
Full-time
England
All Stats and Data

Italy XV
15 Tommaso ALLAN (Perpignan, 79 caps)
14 Ange CAPUOZZO (Stade Toulousain, 16 caps)
13 Juan Ignacio BREX (Benetton Rugby, 30 caps)
12 Tommaso MENONCELLO (Benetton Rugby, 12 caps)
11 Monty IOANE (Lyon 25 caps)
10 Paolo GARBISI (Montpellier, 31 caps)
9 Alessandro GARBISI (Benetton Rugby, 7 caps)
8 Lorenzo CANNONE (Benetton Rugby, 16 caps)
7 Michele LAMARO (Benetton Rugby, 33 caps) – captain
6 Sebastian NEGRI (Benetton Rugby, 52 caps)
5 Federico RUZZA (Benetton Rugby, 49 caps)
4 Niccolò CANNONE (Benetton Rugby, 36 caps)
3 Pietro CECCARELLI (Perpignan, 31 caps)
2 Gianmarco LUCCHESI (Benetton Rugby, 17 caps)
1 Danilo FISCHETTI (Zebre Parma, 36 caps)

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Replacements
16 Giacomo NICOTERA (Benetton Rugby, 18 caps)
17 Mirco SPAGNOLO (Benetton Rugby, debutant)
18 Giosuè ZILOCCHI (Benetton Rugby, 16 caps)
19 Andrea ZAMBONIN (Zebre Parma, 3 caps)
20 Edoardo IACHIZZI (Benetton Rugby, 6 caps)
21 Manuel ZULIANI (Benetton Rugby, 17 caps)
22 Stephen VARNEY (Gloucester, 24 caps)
23 Lorenzo PANI (Zebre Parma, 5 caps)

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