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South African-born No8 Ross Vintcent makes Italy Six Nations squad

By Josh Raisey
Exeter Chiefs' Ross Vintcent celebrates scoring his sides fourth try during the Premiership Rugby Cup Round 4 Pool C match between Exeter Chiefs and London Scottish at Sandy Park on September 30, 2023 in Exeter, England. (Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Exeter Chiefs No8 Ross Vintcent has been named in Italy’s Guinness Six Nations squad by new coach Gonzalo Quesada alongside four other uncapped players.

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The 21-year-old Chiefs loose forward was born in Johannesburg but came through the Italian Rugby Federation Academy before joining Exeter in 2022. Before his move to the Gallagher Premiership, he had represented Zebre.

The dynamic back row is one of five uncapped players in the pack for the Azzurri alongside props Matteo Nocera, Luca Rizzoli and Mirco Spagnolo, and fellow back row Alessandro Izekor.

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Italy get their Six Nations tournament underway against England on February 3 in Rome.

Ahead of his first Six Nations in charge of Italy, Quesada said (translated on Google): “We will have the opportunity to work for the first time, even for just 3 days, with the entire group. In the first part of January the focus was on the new working methodology, on field trips and meeting points. Now we will go into the basics of our game and the attack and defense structures. We won’t have much time available and we will try to concentrate the work as much as possible. The staff worked very well and during this period there was constant discussion to best transfer all the information to the athletes” declared Gonzalo Quesada.

Italy 34-player squad
Props
Pietro CECCARELLI (Perpignan, 31 caps
Danilo FISCHETTI (Zebre Parma, 36 caps)
Matteo NOCERA (Zebre Parma, uncapped)
Luca RIZZOLI (Zebre Parma, uncapped)
Mirco SPAGNOLO (Benetton Rugby, uncapped)
Giosuè ZILOCCHI (Benetton Rugby, 16 caps)

Hookers
Gianmarco LUCCHESI (Benetton Rugby, 17 caps)
Marco MANFREDI (Zebre Parma, 3 caps)
Giacomo NICOTERA (Benetton Rugby, 18 caps)

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Second rows
Niccolò CANNONE (Benetton Rugby, 36 caps)
Edoardo IACHIZZI (Benetton Rugby, 6 caps)
Federico RUZZA (Benetton Rugby, 49 caps)
Andrea ZAMBONIN (Zebre Parma, 3 caps)

Back rows
Lorenzo CANNONE (Benetton Rugby, 16 caps)
Riccardo FAVRETTO (Benetton Rugby, 1 cap)
Alessandro IZEKOR (Benetton Rugby, uncapped)
Michele LAMARO (Benetton Rugby, 33 caps)
Sebastian NEGRI (Benetton Rugby, 52 caps)
Ross VINTCENT (Exeter, uncapped)
Manuel ZULIANI (Benetton Rugby, 17 caps)

Scrum-halves
Alessandro GARBISI (Benetton Rugby, 7 caps)
Martin PAGE-RELO (Lione, 4 caps)
Stephen VARNEY (Gloucester, 24 caps)

Fly-halves
Tommaso ALLAN (Perpignan, 79 caps)
Paolo GARBISI (Montpellier, 31 caps)

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Centres
Juan Ignacio BREX (Benetton Rugby, 30 caps)
Tommaso MENONCELLO (Benetton Rugby, 12 caps)
Federico MORI (Bayonne, 13 caps)
Marco ZANON (Benetton Rugby, 16 caps)

Outside backs
Pierre BRUNO (Zebre Parma, 15 caps)
Ange CAPUOZZO (Stade Toulousain, 16 caps)
Monty IOANE (Lione 25 caps)
Simone GESI (Zebre Parma, 1 cap)
Lorenzo PANI (Zebre Parma, 5 caps)

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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