Italy not fazed by big-time shortfall ahead of rugby series
Italy calls up five fresh faces, including Irish-born flyhalf Ian McKinley and New Zealand utility back Jayden Hayward, against SA, Fiji and Australia
Rome — Italy coach Conor O’Shea insists his side are on the right track as he named an inexperienced squad that includes five newcomers for their autumn international series on Wednesday.
O’Shea has called up Irish-born flyhalf Ian McKinley and New Zealand utility back Jayden Hayward as two of the new players for the matches against Fiji on November 11, Argentina (November 18) and SA (November 25).
Other uncapped players are loose-forwards Renato Giammarioli and Giovanni Licata, and fullback Matteo Minozzi, in a squad in which 18 of the 31 have fewer than 10 caps. Sergio Parisse has been retained as skipper, with the only other players with significant international experience being scrumhalf Edoardo Gori and hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini.
McKinley lost sight in one eye when he was struck by a stray boot in 2010 and today plays rugby with a pair of protective goggles.
He became eligible for Italy in January and was selected for the June internationals, but did not play in that tournament.
Hayward has spent the last three years at Italian club Benetton after playing Super Rugby for New Zealand sides the Highlanders and Hurricanes, and Australia’s Western Force.
"I’m convinced we are on the right track," Irishman O’Shea said in a statement from the Italian Rugby Federation.
"We need to be focused on our performance."
Squad: Forwards: Luca Bigi, Dean Budd, Dario Chistolini, Oliviero Fabiani, Simone Ferrari, Marco Fuser, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Renato Giammarioli, Marco Lazzaroni, Giovanni Licata, Andrea Lovotti, Francesco Minto, Sebastian Negri, Sergio Parisse (capt), Tiziano Pasquali, Federico Ruzza, AJ Steyn, Federico Zani. Backs: Mattia Bellini, Tommaso Boni, Carlo Canna, Tommaso Castello, Edoardo Gori, Angelo Esposito, Jayden Hayward, Ian Mckinley, Matteo Minozzi, Edoardo Padovani, Leonardo Sarto, Tito Tebaldi, Marcello Violi