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Trulla to make debut as Smith names Italy team to face Scotland

Trulla to make debut as Smith names Italy team to face Scotland

Trulla to make debut as Smith names Italy team to face Scotland

Franco Smith has handed a debut to young Zebre wing Jacopo Trulla for Italy’s Autumn Nations Cup opener against Scotland.

The Azzurri will welcome Gregor Townsend’s side to Florence on Saturday looking for a winning start to the competition, and 20-year-old Trulla has been given the nod after impressing at Under-20 level.

Trulla will line up alongside Mattia Bellini on the other wing, while Wasps man Matteo Minozzi will continue at fullback at Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Carlo Canna will continue at centre alongside Marco Zanon, who earns his first international cap since March 2019, as Smith continues to tinker with his choice of starters.

One man who was always destined to keep his place in the team was Paolo Garbisi, with the young fly-half lining up at No.10 for the third straight match after making his debut in October.

The Benetton man will be partnered by Zebre’s Marcello Violi at scrum-half, while Jake Polledri, Braam Steyn and Sebastian Negri all keep their places in the back row.

Benetton teammates Niccolò Cannone and Marco Lazzaroni keep their places in the second-row, with Luca Bigi continuing to captain the side.

There is also a place on the bench for 35-year-old Leonardo Ghiraldini, who is in line for his 105th international cap if he takes to the field on Saturday, as well as Gloucester’s Stephen Varney, who will make his debut if needed from the bench.

Head coach Smith has earmarked the Autumn Nations Cup as a springboard for the next generation of Italian talent to show their potential on the international stage, and a number of youthful choices highlights that.

And he will be looking for an improved performance from his side compared to the last time Scotland came to visit, after going down 17-0 in Rome back in February,

A blend of new and experienced faces make up the starting XV for Saturday’s clash, and Smith believes his team are more than capable of rising to the challenge.

“An interesting tournament begins and we can’t wait to take the field to face this new challenge. We have worked well these days, with the usual passion and motivation,” the Italy head coach said.

“There will be other young players who will be able to take the field for the first time with the national team together with those who made the history of this shirt: a perfect mix to help build our team identity.”

Italy team to face Scotland

15. Matteo Minozzi (London Wasps, 20 Caps)

14. Jacopo Trulla (Zebre Rugby Club, uncapped)

13. Marco Zanon (Benetton Rugby, 1 Cap)

12. Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby Club, 44 Caps)

11. Mattia Bellini (Zebre Rugby Club, 27 Caps)

10. Paolo Garbisi (Benetton Rugby, 2 Caps)

9. Marcello Violi (Zebre Rugby Club, 17 Caps)

8. Jake Polledri (Gloucester Rugby, 18 Caps)

7. Braam Steyn (Benetton Rugby, 41 Caps)

6. Sebastian Negri (Benetton Rugby, 27 Caps)

5. Niccolò Cannone (Benetton Rugby, 5 Caps)

4. Marco Lazzaroni (Benetton Rugby, 8 Caps)

3. Giosuè Zilocchi (Zebre Rugby Club, 7 Caps)

2. Luca Bigi (Zebre Rugby Club, 29 Caps) – Capitano

1. Danilo Fischetti (Zebre Rugby Club, 5 Caps)


16. Leonardo Ghiraldini (Svincolato, 104 Caps)

17. Simone Ferrari (Benetton Rugby, 31 Caps)

18. Pietro Ceccarelli (Brive, 11 Caps)

19. Johan Meyer (Zebre Rugby Club 6 Caps)

20. Maxime Mbanda’ (Zebre Rugby Club, 22 Caps)

21. Stephen Varney (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)

22. Tommaso Allan (Benetton Rugby, 57 Caps)

23. Federico Mori (Kawasaki Robot Calvisano, 1 Cap)


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