Brunel keeps faith in fighting Azzurri
Italy coach Jacques Brunel was as good as his word on Tuesday, naming the same squad for the forthcoming Six Nations games with Scotland and Ireland.
Italy coach Jacques Brunel was as good as his word on Tuesday as he named the same squad for the forthcoming Six Nations games with Scotland and Ireland as were involved in the opening two defeats against Wales and France.
Brunel - whose side lost 15-23 to two-time defending champions Wales and then 10-30 to France - will name a 30th player on Wednesday once he knows whether replacement prop Michele Rizzo will be banned after being sent off in the French game.
Rizzo was sent off by South African referee Jaco Peyper for headbutting opposite number Rabah Slimane in the 71st minute - the Frenchman also being red carded for retaliating.
It was the first time that two players had been sent off in a Five/Six Nations match since French duo Gregoire Lascube and Vincent Moscato were expelled in an infamous France-England clash in 1992.
"The name of the 30th player will be released on Wednesday, after Michele Rizzo's disciplinary hearing in London," the Italian Federation said in a statement.
Brunel, who at the age of 60 has said this will be his last coaching role, had said before the defeat by France that he wanted to instil confidence in the players by selecting them for the Irish and Scottish games.
Italy will start favourites in what will likely be the wooden spoon decider with the Scots - who have been castigated for their performances in the opening 6-28 defeat by the Irish and then the 0-20 humbling by England last Saturday - in Rome on February 23.
However, they then face a much tougher task away to the Irish - who followed up their win over the Scots with an impressive 26-3 victory over the Welsh last Saturday - on March 8, although they beat Ireland in Rome last year.
Forwards: Martin Castrogiovanni (Toulon/FRA), Lorenzo Cittadini (Treviso), Alberto De Marchi (Treviso), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso), Davide Giazzon (Zebre), Marco Bortolami (Zebre), Francesco Minto (Treviso), Quintin Geldenhuys (Zebre), Antonio Pavanello (Treviso), Robert Barbieri (Treviso), Mauro Bergamasco (Zebre), Paul Derbyshire (Treviso), Joshua Furno (Biarritz/FRA), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais/FRA), Alessandro Zanni (Treviso)
Backs: Tobias Botes (Treviso), Edoardo Gori (Treviso), Tommaso Allan (Perpignan/FRA), Luciano Orquera (Zebre), Tommaso Benvenuti (Perpignan/FRA), Michele Campagnaro (Treviso), Gonzalo Garcia (Zebre), Alberto Sgarbi (Treviso), Mirco Bergamasco (Rovigo), Angelo Esposito (Treviso), Tommaso Iannone (Zebre), Luke McLean (Treviso), Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre), Leonardo Sarto (Zebre).