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Italy: Five to watch this summer

Italy: Five to watch this summer

Ange Capuozzo

Italy may have lost all five of their Guinness Six Nations matches but they showed glimpses of the quality at their disposal.

The Azzurri came close to wins against Scotland and France and enjoyed good spells against Wales, Ireland and England, and will now look to piece it all together this Summer Nations Series ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

They will face Scotland, Ireland, Romania and Japan before navigating their Rugby World Cup group, which contains New Zealand, France, Uruguay and Namibia.

Across the Guinness Six Nations, a selection of the talented individuals Kieran Crowley has at his disposal showed what they could do and ahead of the Summer Nations Series, we have picked five players you must keep an eye on.

Ange Capuozzo 

When talking about crucial players for Italy this summer, you simply cannot look beyond full-back Ange Capuozzo, who burst onto the scene for the Azzurri during the 2022 Guinness Six Nations.

Everyone remembers his break against Wales to set up Edoardo Padovani’s match-winning try in Cardiff but on debut the week before, the Toulouse star scored two tries in just 35 minutes when coming off the bench against Scotland.

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He has subsequently gone on to become one of the most exciting young talents in world rugby, scoring six tries in 10 Test matches, including a memorable double in the historic win over Australia.

Italy will be concerned about his recent injuries, with Capuozzo injuring the same shoulder in both the Guinness Six Nations and on his first game back for Toulouse.

He is included in the squad, though, and if he can get back firing, he will be a majorly important member of the Italy team in the Summer Nations Series and beyond.

Paolo Odogwu 

Having signed for Benetton in the summer, Paolo Odogwu secured his place in the Italy set-up and will now look to emerge as an exciting new addition to the Italy back line.

Equally comfortable at centre or on the wing, Odogwu became a prolific try scorer for Wasps, scoring 16 tries in 42 appearances.

He even caught the eye of former England head coach Eddie Jones, earning a spot in a training camp, but was never selected.

Qualifying for Italy courtesy of his father, Odogwu has the opportunity and the talent to make a splash for Italy this summer.

Dino Lamb 

Another recent addition to the Italy side is second row Dino Lamb, who has received the call-up after some encouraging displays for Harlequins in the Gallagher Premiership.

The last four seasons have seen Lamb become a key component of the London-based side, including his appearance off the bench in the memorable 2021 Gallagher Premiership Rugby final.

Now he is included in the Italy squad for the first time, where he will be competing against the likes of Niccolo Cannone and Federico Ruzza for a starting spot.

He will be hoping to make his mark during the Summer Nations Series to seal his spot on the plane to France and become a key component in the Italy squad for years to come.

Monty Ioane 

Returning back to the Italy fold after missing out on the Guinness Six Nations is one of the most powerful ball carriers in world rugby, Monty Ioane.

Monty Ioane stats

The Melbourne Rebels winger made more offloads than any other player in Super Rugby last year, a stat he also had in the United Rugby Championship with Benetton, showing his talent with ball in hand.

Ioane has competition with the likes of Pierre Bruno, Padovani and potentially Odogwu, but if he can get back to his best then he will surely be a shoo-in for the Azzurri.

Lorenzo Cannone 

Italy’s back row was particularly impressive in the 2023 Guinness Six Nations and one of the main reasons for that was No.8 Lorenzo Cannone.

Still only 22, Cannone still has much to learn, as shown by his two yellow cards in the Championship, but he is also a highly capable ball carrier as well as an explosive defender.

A combination of Sebastian Negri, Michele Lamaro and Cannone appears balanced and that is largely down to Cannone’s versatility at the back of the scrum, while he is also a key jumper at the lineout.


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