Azzurri face pivotal crisis

Tue, 18 Jun 2013 15:57
Luciano-orquera-italy Jacques-brunel-italy2-630 Jacques-brunel-italy-630

Italy have a flyhalf crisis, after it was revealed on Tuesday that first-choice No.10 Luciano Orquera has suffered a fractured hand.

Orquera, who will miss the Azzurri's final match of the four-nations series against Scotland in Pretoria on Saturday, will remain with the team.

However, coach Jacques Brunel is likely to recall veteran Alberto Di Bernardo, who was less than spectacular when the 33-year-old made his Test debut against South Africa in Durban in the opening round of the series.

There is also concern over Italian scrumhalf Edoardo Gori, who has been struggling with a leg muscle strain.

Brunel will re-evaluate the situation in the next 48 hours, before making a call on his halfback combination for the third-place play-off Test against Scotland at Loftus Versfeld.

Centre Gonzalo Garcia has also been unable to train the past two days and is another doubtful starter.

Hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini is another on the doubtful list and a visit to a dentist will determine his availability. He has so far avoided any contact in training.

The silver lining for the hapless Azzurri is that wing Giovan Battista Venditti has been cleared of a fracture, after undergoing scans to his chest.

He has resumed training with the team.