|Photo Zimbio: Gonzalo Garcia and Gonzalo Canale will play for Italy next month|
Italian rugby head coach Jacques Brunel announced a thirty-two man squad for the home internationals against Fiji, Argentina and Australia and in doing so named eight players from the Americas with Argentina and Canada set to have players take to the field in Italian colors next month.
Italy has long been a strong rugby nation but not an elite one. The country has no shortage of quality forwards but finding adequate players in the back-line has proven to be the downfall of Italy regularly. The country simply has not been able to produce the same sort of players as its opposition. To combat the problem there has been a long standing policy of nationalizing players and appraoching those eligible based on their parents or grandparents.
The squad for the upcoming international matches includes Robert Barbieri from Toronto, Canada who has become a nationalized Italian and has been a long time servant for the country playing professional rugby in Italy since 2003. He is certain to get game time in the back-row in November as is captain Sergio Parisse who was born in La Plata but moved to Italy as a teenager. Parisse is set to earn his 100th test cap in the match against Argentina and there is a real possibiity that Parisse will become the most capped player in history given his age. He could also become the second player to play in five World Cup´s matching Samoa´s Brian Lima record should Parisse play in Rugby World Cup 2019.
Like Parisse Gonzalo Canale was born in Argentina but spent much of his life in Italy. Having played in Córdoba between the ages of 10 and 18 he moved to Italy, not for the first time, and instantly made it to the under 19 team. Aged 20 he debuted against Scotland and was named in the squad for Rugby World Cup 2003. Canale was joined in the centres by Gonzalo Garcia in Rugby World Cup 2011. Garcia became an Italian international in 2008 after having been selected for Argentina A the same year. Born and raised in Mendoza Garcia played for Argentina at the uner 19 and 21 level but turned down an offer of being a Puma to play for his adopted country where he was playing professional rugby.
The starting fly half next month is likely to be from Argentina too with either Alberto di Bernardo or Luciano Orquera likely to play at pivot. Both players are from Argentina and found their way to Italy to play professional rugby and in turn play for Italy. di Bernardo is from Rosario and played for the same club as Nicolás Vergallo and Manuel Carizza. - Jockey Club de Rosario. Orquera, on the other hand is from Córdoba and came to play for Italy after moving to Europe to play professional rugby. Both fly halves are over 30 suggesting Italy needs a new player for the World Cup. It could be Tommaso Allan who was born in Italy but played at junior level for Scotland.
The squad named by Brunel also features two props from Argentina. Like Parisse Martín Castrogiovanni is near the 100 test cap mark. The Toulon tighthead prop has been playing professional rugby in Europe since 2001 and playing for Italy since 2002. He is from the Argentine city of Paraná in the litoral region while Matias Aguero is from San Nicolás in Buenos Aires province. Aguero first played for Italy in 2005 but has not been involved in barely as many matches as Castrogiovanni.
Forwards: Matias Aguero (Zebre), Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester/ENG), Lorenzo Cittadini (Treviso), Alberto De Marchi (Treviso), Michele Rizzo (Treviso), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso), Davide Giazzon (Zebre), Andrea Manici (Zebre), Valerio Bernabo (Treviso), Marco Bortolami (Zebre), Joshua Furno (Narbonne/FRA), Antonio Pavanello (Treviso), Robert Barbieri (Treviso), Mauro Bergamasco (Zebre), Simone Favaro (Treviso), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais/FRA), Manoa Vosawai (Treviso), Alessandro Zanni (Treviso).
Backs: Tobias Botes (Treviso), Alberto Chillon (Zebre), Edoardo Gori (Treviso), Tommaso Allan (Perpignan/FRA), Alberto Di Bernardo (Treviso), Luciano Orquera (Zebre), Michele Campagnaro (Treviso), Gonzalo Canale (Stade Rochelais/FRA), Gonzalo Garcia (Zebre), Luca Morisi (Treviso), Alberto Sgarbi (Treviso), Tommaso Benvenuti (Perpignan/FRA), Tommaso Iannone (Zebre), Luke McLean (Treviso), Leonardo Sarto (Zebre), Ruggero Trevisan (Zebre), Giovanbattista Venditti (Zebre)