Thursday, March 13, 2014

Six Nations: Argentina and Canada to be represented this Saturday

Sergio Parisse returns to lead Italy
The final round of the Six Nations will be played in Europe this weekend and with it the European champion will be crowned. Three teams remain in the running for the title with Ireland being considered the most likely to do so in the mainstream press. Ireland, though, has the task of playing in Paris while England will be playing away to Italy. In the third match Wales will host Scotland in a dead-rubber. Involved in matches this weekend are to be players from the Americas - the last IRB defined region to be allocated a Rugby World Cup. 

Having missed the match against Ireland Parisse is back to captain Italy in his 105th test match appearance. Parisse missed out on facing the Irish due to Jacques Brunel wanting to get more out of him for the home test against England. It could yet prove to have been a stroke of genius as Italy was forced to put in a Six Nations record of 208 tackles in a single match. 

Veteran tighthead prop Martín Castrogiovanni will miss the match. The Argentine-Italian front-rower has failed to recover from the knock he suffered in the early stages against Ireland last weekend. Replacing Castrogiovanni is Lorenzo Cittadini who will be joined on the other side of the front-row by another prop from Argentina, Matías Aguero. The Zebre prop will earn his 24th test cap.

Jacques Brunel has also ensured that there are to be players from Argentina in the backline. Starting at fly half is not to be the player many believe to be Italy´s brightest hope, Tommaso Allan, but the tried and tested that is Luciano Orquera. The Córdoba pivot will earn his 41st cap and will do so in combination with Gonzalo Garcia from the western Argentine city of Mendoza. The 30 year old is to earn his 31st test cap. 

Also involved is Canadian Robert Barbieri who will join Parisse in the starting back-row. Barbieri is from Toronto but opted to play for Italy after having moved there to play professional rugby. He is on track to appear in a second Rugby World Cup and will be earning his 35th test cap in Rome on Saturday. 

Barbieri started against Ireland last weekend while USA produced Tommy Seymour was in action for Scotland and scored a well-worked try. Seymour, though, will not play against Wales on Saturday. He has been replaced by debutant Dougie Fife for the final round fixture. 

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