Sarto out as Riccioni makes Italy cut for Six Nations

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 06:23

SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Injured wing Leonardo Sarto was out but young prop Marco Riccioni moved closer to his first cap as Conor O'Shea named his 31-man Italian Six Nations squad.

The 26-year-old Sarto has returned to his club Glasgow Warriors for tests on a dislocated right shoulder which may require surgery.

Scrumhalf Tito Tebaldi and lock Marco Fuser were the other players dropped from the original 34-man squad ahead of the opening games against England and Ireland.

Fuser, 26, has not sufficiently recovered from concussion suffered during a Champions Cup clash against Toulon.

However, Riccioni, a 20-year-old Treviso player, has been retained after joining the initial group as one of two invited players.

Riccioni, playing his first Pro14 season, impressed during the team's three-day training camp in Rome this week.

"It was a really positive gathering," said Irishman O'Shea, who is being assisted as Italy coach by former England manager Mike Catt.

"We wish Leonardo a speedy recovery from his injury and we have no doubt that we will need the entire group including players who have not been called up for these first two games, for what is an incredibly challenging tournament."

Italy - who took the wooden spoon for a second straight time last year - open against defending champions England on February 4 in the Stadio Olimpico and then go to Ireland for the second round on February 10

Veterans include captain Sergio Parisse, with 129 caps, and Leonardo Ghiraldini, 89 caps, with Alessandro Zanni set to return after a two-year absence as he targets his 100th cap.

The 33-year-old Zanni last played for Italy in the 2016 tournament but injuries have since prevented the Benetton flank from adding to his 99 caps. 

O'Shea took over in March 2016 and his side shocked former world champions South Africa in November that year, beating the Springboks 20-18 in Florence. But the former Ireland international has had mixed results with Italy, winning just four of 17 matches.

Italy squad:

Forwards: Simone Ferrari, Andrea Lovotti, Tiziano Pasquali, Nicola Quaglio, Marco Riccioni, Luca Bigi, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Oliviero Fabiani, George Biagi, Dean Budd, Federico Ruzza, Alexander Zanni, Renato Giammarioli, Giovanni Licata, Maxime Mbandà, Sebastian Negri, Sergio Parisse (captain), Abraham Steyn.

Backs: Edoardo Gori, Marcello Violi, Tomasso Allan, Carlo Canna, Ian McKinley, Mattia Bellini, Tomasso Benvenuti, Giulio Bisegni, Tomasso Boni, Tomasso Castello, Jayden Hayward, Matteo Minozzi, Edoardo Padovani.

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 24 February 2018
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Bath v Sale Sharks 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 Twickenham Stoop
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sun, 25 February 2018
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
Fri, 02 March 2018
Blues v Chiefs 06h35 Eden Park
Reds v Brumbies 09h00 Suncorp Stadium
Kings v Dragons 17h35 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Edinburgh v Munster 19h35 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Harlequins v Bath 19h45 Twickenham Stoop
Sat, 03 March 2018
Sunwolves v Rebels 22h00 Tokyo
Crusaders v Stormers 06h35 Christchurch
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 24 February 2018
Waratahs v Stormers 34 | 27
Crusaders v Chiefs 45 | 23
Sunwolves v Brumbies 25 | 32
Fri, 23 February 2018
France v Italy 34 | 17
Leinster v Kings 64 | 7
Dragons v Edinburgh 12 | 25
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 21 | 10
Rebels v Reds 45 | 19
Highlanders v Blues 41 | 34
Mon, 19 February 2018
NWU-Pukke v UJ 18 | 15
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 27 | 32
Maties v CUT-Ixias 75 | 12
NMMU-Madibaz v Wits 29 | 32
Sun, 18 February 2018
Dragons v Treviso 15 | 18
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13 | 7
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 2 2 0 0 9
England 2 2 0 0 9
Wales 2 1 0 1 6
France 3 1 0 2 6
Scotland 2 1 0 1 4
Italy 3 0 0 3 0