Sergio Parisse leads trio of returning veterans for Italy
Italy captain Sergio Parisse has been recalled to the Italy squad for November tests against New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga. Coach Conor O’Shea has also recalled another pair of veterans in hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini and back row forward Alessandro Zanni.
The trio, who between them are one short of 300 caps for the Azzurri, were left out of Italy’s June Tour to North and South America, when O’Shea took charge of the team for the first time.
Should he play, Stade Francais No.8 Parisse, 33, will take sole possession of the national caps record he shares with prop Martin Castrogiovanni, 34, who has not played since being suspended by his club Racing 92 for disciplinary reasons.
The Argentine-born pair share the record of 119 caps while Treviso’s Zanni, 32, has played for his country 99 times and Ghiraldini, 31, of Toulouse has won 81 caps.
O’Shea has also named three uncapped Treviso players in his squad: prop Simone Ferrari, wing Andrea Buondonno and scrum-half Giorgio Bronzini.
“Twenty of the 30 selected players played in the summer Tour and that will give us solidity,” said O’Shea in a statement released by the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) yesterday.
“But we’ll also rediscover some big names who will give us energy. “These are three big challenges awaiting us in November and we live for moments like these. “I know this team has the right qualities to make Italian rugby proud.” Italy host the All Blacks in Rome on November 12, then play South Africa in Florence a week later before entertaining Tonga in Padova on November 26.
Pietro Ceccarelli (Zebre), Lorenzo Cittadini (Bayonne/FRA), Simone Ferrari (Treviso), Andrea Lovotti (Zebre), Sami Panico (Pataro Calvisano), Ornel Gega (Treviso), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Toulouse/FRA), George Fabio Biagi (Zebre), Joshua Furno (Zebre), Marco Fuser (Treviso), Quintin Geldenhuys (Zebre), Simone Favaro (Glasgow Warriors/SCO), Maxime Mata Mbanda (Zebre), Francesco Minto (Treviso), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais/FRA), Andries Van Schalkwyk (Zebre), Alessandro Zanni (Treviso).
Giorgio Bronzini (Treviso), Edoardo Gori (Treviso), Marcello Violi (Zebre), Tommaso Allan (Treviso), Carlo Canna (Zebre), Tommaso Benvenuti (Treviso), Tommaso Boni (Zebre), Andrea Buondonno (Treviso), Michele Campagnaro (Exeter Chiefs/ENG), Angelo Esposito (Treviso), Luke McLean (Treviso), Edoardo Padovani (Zebre), Leonardo Sarto (Glasgow Warriors/SCO). — AFP