Italy change half-back duo

Date published: February 21 2013

Tigers prop Martin Castrogiovanni will captain Italy against Wales at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday in a team featuring four changes.

Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni will captain Italy against Wales at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday in a team featuring four changes.

Kristopher Burton takes over from Luciano Orquera at fly-half while Edoardo Gori starts ahead of Tobias Botes to form a new half-back combination in the wake of Italy's disappointing defeat at Murrayfield.

Ratu Manoa Vosawai starts at number eight in place of suspended skipper Sergio Parisse.

Fiji-born Vosawai is among six Treviso forwards selected in the Italian pack, with the only exceptions being Castrogiovanni and Racing Metro prop Andrea Lo Cicero.

29-year-old Vosawai has been playing his club rugby in Italy since 2004 and has won 10 caps for his adopted country.

In the second-row, Antonio Pavanello takes over from Quintin Geldenhuys, who drops to the replacements' bench.

Castrogiovanni, who wins his 94th cap, skippered his country in last season's Six Nations win against Scotland but the absence of Parisse will come as a heavy blow to the Italians.

“I saw the (Stade Français) match and right away I thought to myself – this is a disaster,” French coach Jacques Brunel said of the red card handed out to Parisse which is at the origin of his ban.

“But since then I have been preparing to field a team without Parisse and I still think that we can win this match with Manoa.

“It's better for us to concentrate on the Welsh and not get too caught up with the absence of Parisse. Other players can influence the game and we cannot be over-dependent on the one player.”

Italy have beaten Wales on two previous Six Nations occasions in Rome – in 2003 and 2007 – and it will be the countries' first championship meeting at the Stadio Olimpico.

Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Giovambattista Venditti, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Gonzalo Canale, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Ratu Manoa Vosawai, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Francesco Minto, 4 Antonio Pavanello, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (c) 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Quintin Geldenhuys, 20 Paul Derbyshire, 21 Tobias Botes, 22 Luciano Orquera, 23 Gonzalo Garcia.

Kick-off: 15:30 (14:30 GMT)
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Alain Rolland (Ireland), Pascal Gauzere (France)
Television match official: Geoff Warren (England)