Italy name four uncapped backs in squad for Ireland and England games

Mauro Bergamasco and Giovambattista Venditti return after missing November internationals

Italy coach Jacques Brunel has named four uncapped backs in his 30-man squad for the opening game against Ireland at Rome's Stadio Olimpico on February 7th and for the Azzurri's trip to Twickenham to play England on February 14th.

Zebre's 22-year-old centre Giulio Bisegni and 23-year-old winger Michele Visentin have received a call to the national squad, along with Treviso utility back Simone Ragusi, who was part of November's squad but didn't play. There's also a place amongst the 14 backs for 21-year-old scrumhalf Marcello Violi from Cammi Calvisano, the reigning Italian domestic champions.

Violi was recently selected as a permit player by Zebre, coming off the bench away to the Scarlets at the start of November as a replacement for former All Black Brendan Leonard in the second half.

Frenchman Brunel welcomes back 100-cap flanker Mauro Bergamasco and winger Giovambattista Venditti after they missed the November series.


The Italian squad will assemble in Rome from January 25th to 28th ahead of the opening game against Joe Schmidt’s side.


Props: Matias Aguero (Zebre, 29 CAPS), Martin Castrogiovanni (Toulon, 107), Dario Chistolini (Zebre, 5), Alberto De Marchi (Sale , 23); Hookers: Leonardo Ghiraldini (Leicester, 70 caps), Andrea Manici (Zebre, 6); Locks: George Fabio Biagi (Zebre Rugby, 3 caps), Marco Bortolami (Zebre, 110), Joshua Furno (Newcastle, 23 caps), Quintin Geldenhuys (Zebre, 52). Backrow: Robert Julian Barbieri (Leicester, 38), Mauro Bergamasco (Zebre, 100), Simone Favaro (Treviso, 23), Francesco Minto (Treviso, 11), Sergio Parisse (capt) (Stade Francais, 108), Alessandro Zanni (Treviso, 86).

BACKS (14)

Scrumhalves: Edoardo Gori (Treviso, 37), Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre, 6), Marcello Violi (Cammi Calvisano, uncapped); Outhalves: Tommaso Allan (USAP Perpignan, 10); Kelly Haimona (Zebre, 3). Backs: Giulio Bisegni (Zebre, uncapped), Michele Campagnaro (Treviso, 12), Andrea Masi (London Wasps, 87), Luke McLean (Sharks, 63), Luca Morisi (Benetton Treviso, 9), Simone Ragusi (Benetton Treviso, uncapped), Leonardo Sarto (Zebre, 10), Giovambattista Venditti (Zebre, 22 ), Michele Visentin (Zebre, uncapped).

Not considered due to injury: Gonzalo Canale (La Rochelle), Gonzalo Garcia (Zebre), Alberto Sgarbi (Benetton Treviso), Samuela Vunisa (Zebre).