Thursday, March 6, 2014

Five players from the Americas to start for Italy v Ireland

Photo Rugby 1823
Italian headcoach Jacques Brunel has named a changed side for the fourth roudn Six Nations match against Ireland at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The man who coached Perpignan to the French Top 14 title in 2009 has opted to rest his Argentine born captain, Sergio Parisse but nonetheless has places for four other Italian internationals from Argentina and also a place for a Canadian. 

Parisse will miss the fixture not through injury but as a strategic move. Replacing him will be Benetton Treviso back-rower Robert Barbieri who is a native of Toronto but opted to play for Italy, debuting in 2006. With Parisse not involved in the fixture the captaincy will be handed to former captain Marco Bortolami who is set to earn his 103rd international cap. 

With Parisse missing the 104 time capped Argentine-Italian Martín Castrogiovanni will overtake Parisse. The players made their debut together for Italy against New Zealand in 2002 and are on track to both play in a fourth Rugby World Cup next year. With Parisse still playing at a very high standard the possibility exists for him to overtake George Gregan to become the most capped player of all time and he could realistically also be playing at Rugby World Cup 2019.

Other players from the Americas involved in the match for Italy are to be Luciano Orquera and Gonzalo Garcia. Orquera is from Córdoba which will play host to Argentina v Scotland in June while Garcia is from Mendoza which is to host the home Rugby Championship match against the Wallabies in October. The pair are to form a starting 10-12 combination for Italy which sees Tommaso Allan switchign places with Allan.

The last time Italy faced Ireland the Italians created history by winning against the Irish for the first time since joining the Six Nations. One of the star performers was Andrea Masi who makes his return from injury to take a place on the bench this weekend.

15 Luke McLean (Treviso)
14 Angelo Esposito (Treviso)
13 Michele Campagnaro (Treviso)
12 Gonzalo Garcia (Zebre)
11 Leonardo Sarto (Zebre)
10 Luciano Orquera (Zebre)
9 Tito Tebaldi (Ospreys, Wales)
8 Robert Barbieri (Treviso)
7 Paul Derbyshire (Treviso)
6 Joshua Furno (Biarritz, France)
5 Marco Bortolami (Zebre)
4 Quentin Geldenhuys (Zebre)
3 Martín Castrogiovanni (Toulon, France)
2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso)
1 Alberto de Marchi (Treviso)

Reserves: 16 David Giazzon (Zebre), 17 Michele Rizzo (Treviso), 18 Lorenzo Cittadini (Treviso), 19 Antonio Pavanello (Treviso), 20 Manoa Vosawai (Treviso), 21 Edoardo Gori (Treviso), 22 Tommaso Allan (Perpignan, France), 23 Andrea Masi (London Wasps, England)

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