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Italy name team to take on England

By Online Editors
Players of Italy participate in the national anthem prior to the Guinness Six Nations match against Scotland in February (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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Conor O’Shea has made three changes to his Italy team to face England on Saturday following their encouraging round three performance against defending champions Ireland.


Veteran talisman Sergio Parisse returns at No8 after recovering from the concussion that ruled him out of the last match. His inclusion sees Braam Steyn switch to openside to fill the void left by the injured Maxime Mbanda.

Italy’s back row is further shaken up by Sebastian Negri’s return to the back in the team in place of Jimmy Tuivaiti at blindside.

Their other change comes at hooker where Luca Bigi, a replacement the last day, takes over from the benched Leonardo Ghiraldini. In the replacements there is a call-up for Gloucester’s Jake Polledri who comes in for Alessandro Zanni.

“It will be a great challenge,” said O’Shea about his team’s trip to Twickenham on the back of a 120-match losing streak in the Six Nations.

(Continue reading below…)

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“We trained well during the week, continuing the excellent work done before the match against Ireland. The focus must be on ourselves and on all the things we can control, trying to play our best rugby. I’ve said to the players I don’t want them to even think about the result, their job is to deliver a performance of intensity, physicality and ambition.


“I’ll say ambition 20 times because I want them to go out and play. I’ll take the flak for any results. The big thing is to get the confidence to win and get the energy that comes with that. We have to dust ourselves down every time and come back. This is a massive ask but I can’t wait for this weekend.”

Parisse is returning for his 137th Test appearance and his 68th in the Six Nations. Ghiraldini will move to third on the Italian all-time championship appearances list behind the skipper and Martin Castrogiovanni if he comes on as a sub to play for the 52nd time in the tournament.

Italy team (v England)
15 Jayden HAYWARD (Benetton Rugby, 15 caps)
14 Edoardo PADOVANI (Zebre Rugby Club, 18 caps)
13 Luca MORISI (Benetton Rugby, 23 caps)
12 Michele CAMPAGNARO (Wasps, 41 caps)
11 Angelo ESPOSITO (Benetton Rugby, 18 caps)
10 Tommaso ALLAN (Benetton Rugby, 46 caps)
9 Tito TEBALDI (Benetton Rugby, 30 caps)
8 Sergio PARISSE (Stade Francais, 136 caps) – captain
7 Abraham Jurgens STEYN (Benetton Rugby, 28 caps)
6 Sebastian NEGRI (Benetton Rugby, 14 caps)
5 Dean BUDD (Benetton Rugby, 19 caps)
4 Federico RUZZA (Benetton Rugby, 10 caps)
3 Simone FERRARI (Benetton Rugby, 20 caps)
2 Luca BIGI (Benetton Rugby, 17 caps)
1 Andrea LOVOTTI (Zebre Rugby Club, 32 caps)
16 Leonardo GHIRALDINI (Stade Toulousian, 102 caps)
17 Cherif TRAORE ‘(Benetton Rugby, 8 caps)
18 Tiziano PASQUALI (Benetton Rugby, 16 caps)
19 David SISI (Zebre Rugby Club, 3 chaps)
20 Jake POLLEDRI (Gloucester Rugby, 6 caps)
21 Guglielmo PALAZZANI (Zebras Rugby Club, 30 caps)
22 Ian MCKINLEY (Benetton Rugby, 7 caps)
23 Tommaso CASTELLO (Zebre Rugby Club, 17 caps)

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