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Two new caps in Italy team that shows 11 changes from last outing

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

Kieran Crowley has named an Italy team to play Scotland this Saturday in Edinburgh that shows 11 changes from the meeting 19 weeks ago between the same two countries.

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The Italians were defeated 14-26 in that Guinness Six Nations encounter in March and their first match of the Summer Nations Series ahead of the Rugby World Cup in France sees just four of the same players retained in the starting XV.

Three are in the backs with Tommaso Allan, the full-back four months ago, chosen to start at out-half on this occasion. Winger Pierre Bruno and inside centre Luca Morisi are also included again, while the sole forward retained is Federico Ruzza, who switches from lock to blindside and will skipper the team in the absence of regular skipper Michele Lamaro.

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Facing Goliath | A story following Italy as they take on the mighty All Blacks | A Rugby Originals Documentary

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Facing Goliath | A story following Italy as they take on the mighty All Blacks | A Rugby Originals Documentary

Of the 11 changes – the same number of alterations that Scotland have made to their XV from their last outing – there are debuts at full-back for Lorenzo Pani and at scrum-half for Martin Page-Relo, while Monty Ioane is back in the mix on the wing following his recent unavailability.

Crowley said: “The match against Scotland represents an important first step towards the Rugby World Cup.

“Many players will have the opportunity to play in a high-level international Test match showing their skills to enter the list of call-ups for the World Cup. It will also be a time to evaluate the first part of the preparation for the next matches.”

The four repeat Scotland starters from last March are full-back Ollie Smith, winger Kyle Steyn, hooker George Turner, and second row Sam Skinner.

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Turlough 5 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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