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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

O’Shea Includes Young Guns In Italian Selection

O’Shea Includes Young Guns In Italian Selection

Promising young centre Marco Zanon will make his second Test appearance for Italy against Ireland this weekend ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Italy head coach Conor O’Shea has selected some inexperienced youngsters, including 21-year-old debutant prop Marco Riccioni, in the team to play Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 2pm).

There are only three starters retained from the side that lost 25-14 to France in March’s final round of the Guinness Six Nations, with Edoardo Padovani switching to full-back, Angelo Esposito stationed on the right wing, and Marco Zanon, a debutant in that game, featuring at inside centre.

21-year-old starlet Zanon has his Benetton club-mate Tommaso Benvenuti alongside him in midfield, while there is a Zebre partnership at half-back where Carlo Canna combines with Guglielmo Palazzani. There is an even split of four players each from Benetton and Zebre in the forwards.

Promising tighthead Riccioni gets the nod in a front row which contains only 16 Test caps. They are backed up by 111-cap veteran Alessandro Zanni and captain Dean Budd in the engine room, as Zanni goes level with Marco Bortolami as the joint-third most-capped Italian international of all-time.

Giovanni Licata (22) is rewarded with his first cap in over a year, linking up with Maxime Mbanda and powerful number 8 Jimmy Tuivaiti in an all-Zebre back row. Matteo Minozzi, who is back from a cruciate knee ligament injury, is a notable inclusion on the bench alongside with Gloucester-based debutant Callum Braley and Dublin-born out-half Ian McKinley.

ITALY Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2019 GUINNESS Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, August 10, kick-off 2pm):

Player/Club/Caps –

15. Edoardo Padovani (Zebre) 20
14. Angelo Esposito (Benetton Rugby) 20
13. Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Rugby) 56
12. Marco Zanon (Benetton Rugby) 1
11. Giulio Bisegni (Zebre) 11
10. Carlo Canna (Zebre) 32
9. Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre) 31
1. Nicola Quaglio (Benetton Rugby) 9
2. Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre) 7
3. Marco Riccioni (Benetton Rugby) *
4. Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Rugby) 111
5. Dean Budd (Benetton Rugby) (capt) 20
6. Giovanni Licata (Zebre) 7
7. Maxime Mbanda (Zebre) 16
8. Jimmy Tuivaiti (Zebre) 3

Replacements:

16. Federico Zani (Benetton Rugby) 7
17. Andrea Lovotti (Zebre) 34
18. Simone Ferrari (Benetton Rugby) 22
19. Marco Lazzaroni (Benetton Rugby) 3
20. Renato Giammarioli (Zebre) 3
21. Callum Braley (Gloucester) *
22. Ian McKinley (Benetton Rugby) 8
23. Matteo Minozzi (Wasps) 10

* Denotes uncapped player