Conor O’Shea has made wholesale changes for Italy’s second World Cup warm-up match against Russia on Saturday, Matteo Minozzi the only survivor from last weekend’s defeat to Ireland in Dublin.
The new Wasps winger/full-back was a late call-up to face the Irish, getting shunted into the starting line-up after the originally selected midfielder Marco Zanon pulled up lame during the pre-match warm-up.
Minozzi went on to play a credible part in the 10-29 loss, but he now starts in his more favoured position on the wing in a match in Tronto that will see veteran Sergio Parisse return to the side as captain.
The XV chosen by O’Shea is a mix of very experienced players such as long-serving talisman Parisse and some, such as lock David Sisi, who are still feeling their way at Test level.
O’Shea, who will confirm his bench on Wednesday, said: “We are not happy with the defeat to Ireland, but there are good things from which we can share and work to constantly improve.
— Italrugby (@Federugby) August 13, 2019
“We face an opponent which makes his physical strength. We want to bring a victory at home trying to impose our pace by maintaining our focus on us.”
Italy, who have not won a Six Nations match since 2015 and are coming off the back of their third straight whitewash under O’Shea, will face defending World Cup champions New Zealand along with new Rugby Championship champions South Africa in their pool at the finals in Japan.
ITALY TEAM (to face Russia on Saturday)
15 Jayden HAYWARD (Benetton Rugby, 17 caps)
14 Matteo MINOZZI (Wasps, 11 caps)
13 Michele CAMPAGNARO (Harlequins, 42 caps)
12 Luca MORISI (Benetton Rugby, 25 caps)
11 Mattia BELLINI (Zebre Rugby Club, 17 caps)
10 Tommaso ALLAN (Benetton Rugby, 48 caps)
9 Tito TEBALDI (Benetton Rugby, 32 caps)
8 Sergio PARISSE (Tolone, 138 caps) – captain
7 Jake POLLEDRI (Gloucester, 8 caps)
6 Abraham STEYN (Benetton Rugby, 30 caps)
5 Federico RUZZA (Benetton Rugby, 12 caps)
4 David SISI (Zebre Rugby Club, 5 caps)
3 Tiziano PASQUALI (Benetton Rugby, 18 caps)
2 Luca BIGI (Zebre Rugby Club, 19 caps)
1 Andrea LOVOTTI (Zebre Rugby Club, 34 caps)
WATCH: Conor O’Shea’s post-match media conference following last weekend’s defeat to Ireland
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