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Minozzi, Giammarioli and Fuser return in Crowley’s first Italy team

Minozzi, Giammarioli and Fuser return in Crowley’s first Italy team

Matteo Minozzi Italy

Kieran Crowley has named his first matchday squad as Italy coach, with three players returning to the starting XV after extended absences from the international set-up for Saturday’s clash against New Zealand.

At full-back, Matteo Minozzi will play his first game for Italy since last November, while Renato Giammarioli is given the nod at No.8 for the first time since August 2019 for their Autumn Nations Series opener.

And in the second row, Marco Fuser will end a three-year drought since his last Azzurri appearance, as he’s selected alongside David Sisi.

REPORT: New Zealand impress in victory over Wales

New captain Michele Lamaro will wear the skipper’s armband for the first time, starting at openside flanker with Seb Negri manning the blindside, while Minozzi is the only player in an exciting young backline with more than ten caps.

Stephen Varney and Paolo Garbisi re-form the half-back partnership that started to blossom during the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, with Marco Zanon and Juan Ignacio Brex reuniting in the centres and Monty Ioane and Federico Mori out on the wings.

On the bench, Benetton prop Ivan Nemer could make his international debut and although Italy have never beaten the All Blacks in their history, new coach Crowley is excited to see what his troops can produce at Stadio Olimpico.

“This week, we have worked a lot on various aspects of the game – taking care of every aspect in detail,” said Crowley.

“The boys showed a great attitude during training, showing a great desire to create something important with this shirt.

“On Saturday, the focus will be on our performance as we continue along the path aimed at creating a very specific team identity.”

Italy team to face New Zealand:
15 Matteo MINOZZI (Wasps Rugby, 22 caps)
14 Federico MORI (Bordeaux, 9 caps)
13 Juan Ignacio BREX (Benetton Rugby, 5 caps)
12 Marco ZANON (Benetton Rugby, 6 caps)
11 Montanna IOANE (Benetton Rugby, 6 caps)
10 Paolo GARBISI (Montpellier, 10 caps)
9 Stephen VARNEY (Gloucester Rugby 7 caps)
1 Danilo FISCHETTI (Zebre Parma, 12 caps)
2 Gianmarco LUCCHESI (Benetton Rugby, 6 caps)
3 Marco RICCIONI (Saracens, 15 caps)
4 Marco FUSER (Newcastle Falcons, 33 caps)
5 David SISI (Zebre Parma, 15 caps)
6 Sebastian NEGRI (Benetton Rugby, 33 caps)
7 Michele LAMARO (Benetton Rugby, 7 caps) – captain
8 Renato GIAMMARIOLI (Zebre Parma, 4 caps)

Replacements:
16 Luca BIGI (Zebre Parma 37 caps)
17 Ivan NEMER (Benetton Ruby, uncapped)
18 Pietro CECCARELLI (Brive, 14 caps)
19 Niccolò CANNONE (Benetton Rugby, 13 caps)
20 Federico RUZZA (Benetton Rugby, 22 caps)
21 Abraham STEYN (Benetton Rugby, 44 caps)
22 Callum BRALEY (Benetton Rugby, 10 caps)
23 Carlo CANNA (Zebre Parma, 52 caps)

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