Nick Mallett has been forced to pick an inexperienced Italian squad for their tour of South Africa.
The Azzurri play the Springboks on 21 June at Newlands but club commitments mean that a number of Mallett’s established players will be unable to tour. Italian skipper Sergio Parisse, Gloucester captain Marco Bortolami, Stade Francais teammates and brothers Mauro and Mirco Bergamasco, as well as Clermont centre Gonzalo Canale will all miss out.
Mallett has had to pick three uncapped players – all in the backline – and said this will be a good chance to experiment. Their back division has however been their weak-link and these new players with lack of experience will further rob them of cohesion.
“We have to do without at least eight or nine first choice players who are either injured or still involved with their clubs so we will take advantage of this international window to experiment,” Mallett told the AFP.
Forwards – Matias Aguero (Saracens, England), Roberto Barbieri (Treviso), Lorenzo Cittadini (Calvisano), Salvatore Costanzo (Treviso), Carlo Antonio Del Fava (Ulster, Ireland), Santiago Dellape (Biarritz, France), Jaco Erasmus (Viadana), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Calvisano), Carlos Nieto (Gloucester, England), Fabio Ongaro (Saracens, England), Tommaso Reato (Rovigo), Josh Sole (Viadana), Alessandro Zanni (Calvisano).
Backs – Pablo Canavosio (Castres, France), Gonzalo Garcia (Calvisano), Andrea Marcato (Treviso), Andrea Masi (Biarritz, France), Luke McLean (Calvisano), Ludovico Maria Nitoglia (Calvisano), Enrico Patrizio (Padova), Riccardo Pavan (Overmach Parma), Simon Picone (Treviso), Matteo Pratichetti (Calvisano), Kaine Robertson (Viadana).