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Smith names 30-man Italy squad ahead of Autumn Nations Cup

Smith names 30-man Italy squad ahead of Autumn Nations Cup

Smith names 30-man Italy squad ahead of Autumn Nations Cup

Franco Smith believes Italy are well on the way to establishing their identity both on and off the pitch after naming a 30-man squad ahead of the Autumn Nations Cup.

The eight-team tournament will see the Azzurri face Scotland, Fiji and France in Group B before taking on a Group A opponent in a ranking game on finals weekend to decide their final placing.

Smith has included four uncapped players in his squad, which will be led by Luca Bigi, with Daniele Rimpelli, Nicolae Cristian Stoian, Jacopo Trulla and Stephen Varney all named.

Luca Sperandio also returns to the squad almost two years after his last international appearance in Rome and Tommaso Allan is included among the options at No.10.

And after pushing England close in their 2020 Six Nations Championship finale last time out, Smith is confident his young side are progressing nicely as they look ahead to the Autumn Nations Cup.

“Meeting the players and staff colleagues for the two remaining Six Nations games was not only incredibly exciting, after the long hiatus due to the pandemic but it also represented a solid and clear starting point in the path we have taken for this group,” he said.

“We are very clear about the identity we want to give to the national team, both from the point of view of the game and of the team spirit.

“I am convinced that last Saturday’s match against England showed some positive signs, in particular from the point of view of attitude and physical challenge.

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“We are building a young team, with a new mentality, a new game, a new technical creed and this process is also based on the lessons that can be learned by playing at the highest level.

“From the Dublin match to England I have seen a lot of progress, but a lot remains to be done to find continuity in our game. I am comforted by the great will I saw in Rome on Saturday night.

“The matches against Scotland, Fiji and France will have to mark a new step in the process of building the team we want to be.”

Italy training squad for the Autumn Nations Cup

Forwards
Pietro CECCARELLI (Brive)
Simone FERRARI (Benetton Rugby)
Danilo FISCHETTI (Zebre Rugby Club)
Daniele RIMPELLI (Zebre Rugby Club)
Giosuè ZILOCCHI (Zebre Rugby Club)
Luca BIGI (Zebre Rugby Club)
Leonardo GHIRALDINI (Sans club)
Gianmarco LUCCHESI (Benetton Rugby)
Niccolò CANNONE (Benetton Rugby)
Marco LAZZARONI (Benetton Rugby)
David SISI (Zebre Rugby Club)
Nicolae Cristian STOIAN (Fiamme Oro Rugby)
Maxime MBANDA’ (Zebre Rugby Club)
Johan MEYER (Zebre Rugby Club)
Sebastian Luke NEGRI DA OLEGGIO (Benetton Rugby)
Jake POLLEDRI (Gloucester Rugby)
Abraham STEYN (Benetton Rugby)

Backs
Guglielmo PALAZZANI (Zebre Rugby Club)
Stephen VARNEY (Gloucester Rugby)
Marcello VIOLI (Zebre Rugby Club)
Tommaso ALLAN (Benetton Rugby)
Carlo CANNA (Zebre Rugby Club)
Paolo GARBISI (Benetton Rugby)
Luca MORISI (Benetton Rugby)
Marco ZANON (Benetton Rugby)
Mattia BELLINI (Zebre Rugby Club)
Matteo MINOZZI (Wasps Rugby)
Federico MORI (Kawasaki Calvisano Robot)
Luca SPERANDIO (Benetton Rugby)
Jacopo TRULLA (Kawasaki Robot Calvisano)

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