Italy change eight for All Blacks
Italy change eight for All BlacksSHARE
Italy coach Jacques Brunel has made eight changes to the side that beat Tonga 28-23 last week ahead of Saturday's test against New Zealand's All Blacks at Rome's Olympic Stadium.
Italy have suffered defeat to the All Blacks in all 12 of their previous encounters but will be hoping their best available team can provide a stiffer challenge to the reigning world champions.
In the backs Tommaso Iannone, who made his debut at right wing last week, makes way for Giovanbattista Venditti while Mirco Bergamasco, who has been nursing a sore back, returns at left wing for Luke McLean.
Luciano Orquera comes in at fly-half for Kris Burton with Edoardo Gori reclaiming the scrum half position from Tobias Botes, who is also among the replacements.
Among the forwards there were also four changes.
Simone Favaro returns to the starting XV in favour of Robert Barbieri at openside flank while Francesco Minto takes Joshua Furno's place in the second row.
Antonio Pavanello replaces Quintin Geldenhuys at second row while tighthead prop Martin Castrogiovanni, a late replacement in last week's edgy win over Tonga, starts in place of Lorenzo Cittadini.
The big surprise for Italy is Minto, who will line up against the All Blacks for the first time,
Brunel gave Minto, one of eight starters from Benetton Treviso, his chance to shine during the Six Nations and he replied by scoring two tries. He then missed the June tour of North America with injury.
Italy's French coach said: "We wanted to gauge the progress of the whole group and have a look at the players that we haven't seen yet, like Minto, who was injured for our June tour.
"I think he can help us limit the All Blacks' movement, that's the idea, but that's not the only reason he has been picked."
New Zealand beat Scotland 51-22 at Murrayfield last week but coach Steve Hansen has rung the changes.
Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Mirco Bergamasco, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Francesco Minto, 4 Antonio Pavanello, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Quintin Geldenhuys, 20 Mauro Bergamasco, 21 Robert Barbieri, 22 Tobias Botes, 23 Luke McLean.
Date: Saturday, November 17
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kick-off: 15.00 (14.00 GMT, 02.00 Sunday, November 18 NZ time)
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Peter Allan (Scotland)
TMO: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)